Entangled Futures: Anthropology’s Engagement with Global Change Research
Let me begin with a provocation. The irony of a world experiencing accelerated and interconnected changes-social, climatic, and environmental-is that we are forced, as scholars, to confront the fact that our disciplinary approaches are often unable to follow the pace and complexity of the transformations we are addressing; our toolkits and narrative devices are often too limited to examine cross-scale processes, and our interpretations are often overridden by the pace of change in the very system/situation we aim to understand and, intentionally or not, inform policy changes. Further, our institutional structures and cultures are often too rigid and conservative to adapt to new realities. In other words, if we accept the premise that we live in a time of social and environmental acceleration and interconnectedness, where social-environmental processes create continuously emergent features and new conditions, we should also accept that, although they provide fundamental expertise, disciplinary approaches are limited to explain the mechanisms and directions of change that transcend their specifi c domains or level of analysis; recognizing these limitations and imagining new ways of working together is no longer an option but a necessity and an opportunity.