Conference “Multi-Species Neighborness: Constructing the Social Together”

On February 21-26, 2022, the Center for Independent Social Research, with the support of the Kone Foundation (Finland), is holding an international conference dedicated to understanding the phenomenon of human neighboring with non-human others.

Format: online and in-person. Online meetings will be held on the Zoom platform on February 21-22, 2022, in-person meetings will be held on February 25-26, 2022 in St. Petersburg.

Language: Russian/English

The Anthropocene perspective includes various biological species in the field of research and comprehends the relationships that arise between humans and non-humans, such as animals, plants, insects, microorganisms, viruses, and many others. Contemporary theories reject anthropocentrism, a model based on the dualism of relations between man and nature and the subordination of nature to man. Nowadays, the relationships between people and living organisms are seen as mutual, manifold, and diverse. It is the relationship of various human agents (individual and collective) and various biological species, which are constantly redefined by their participants and range from coexistence and cooperation to conflict and repression. At the conference, we propose to discuss the diversity of such relationships from a perspective of neighborness. By using the concept of neighborness, we would like to emphasize the mutual importance of humans and non-humans in creating forms and meanings of common existence, as well as the importance of space in their emergence and maintenance. Spatial interactions of humans and non-humans exist on different scales, including global chains, transnational associations, as well as situations unfolding in specific localities. Such interactions can be emotionally saturated, included in moral, political and aesthetic systems, and cultural representations.

Proposed areas for discussion include (but are not limited to):

  • Methodological challenges that accompany the inclusion of non-human natural forms in social research;
  • Human neighboring with animals, insects, viruses, plants: spaces, practices, affects, representations;
  • New infrastructures, institutions, legal systems emerging to regulate relations between people and other natural forms;
  • Contemporary art as a reflection of the relationship between people and non-human natural forms (proposals for art projects on relevant topics for presentation at the conference are welcome);

Conference application form must include the following: speaker’s affiliation, abstract (at least 300 words) and preferred language for the presentation.

The application must be submitted before Jan 15, 2022 at