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Guest Talk Michaela Haug

Imagining Probable and Possible Futures in a Doomed Environment


28 June 2021, 18.15, Zoom-Meeting
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Oettingenstraße 67
80538 München

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Dr. Michaela Haug (Universität zu Köln):

Imagining Probable and Possible Futures in a Doomed Environment

Indonesia owns some of the largest remaining rainforest areas on this planet – which are shrinking at alarming rates. Reports on past and present forest loss and future predictions of further deforestation and their contribution to the ever more threatening global ecological crisis are omnipresent. For the people that live in and depend on the Indonesian rainforests, these bleak future scenarios pose a serious threat and many experience the effects of deforestation and environmental degradation in their daily lives. Drawing on my research among the Dayak Benuaq, an indigenous group of Indonesian Borneo, my talk explores how people anticipate the future, by very often distinguishing between what is most probable to come (more deforestation) and what they actually hope for (a future with the forest). I carve out the resulting ambivalent feeling of being torn between the hopes and aspirations associated with individual plans for the future and promises made by local development planning on the one hand and rather gloomy expectations regarding further environmental decline on the other hand.

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