Negotiating nature : expertise and environment in the Klamath River Basin
Author(s)Buchanan, Nicholas Seong Chul
Expertise and environment in the Klamath River Basin
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society.
Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Harriet Ritvo and Susan S. Silbey.
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"Negotiating Nature" explores resource management in action and the intertwined roles of law and science in environmental conflicts in the Upper Klamath River Basin in southern Oregon. I follow disputes over the management of water and endangered species. I develop several themes: first, how these disputes demonstrate the growing connections between scientific and legal authority in environmental matters. This occurs because environmental laws often limit participation in disputes to those who can offer "scientific data" in support of their claims. I call this situation "scientific legality" and suggest that increasingly, one's ability to make legal claims is closely tied to one's ability to muster scientific authority behind those claims. Second, how the growing importance of scientific expertise in environmental decision-making has affected the ways that groups frame environmental claims. Third, how negotiations over environmental rights, regulations, and policies shape not only management efforts, but also narratives of environmental relationships. In Part One, I discuss the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which legally mandates that only scientific considerations can be taken into account in certain aspects of endangered species management. As a result, the Act has impacted the ways people frame claims about endangered species. I then discuss how the Klamath Tribes of American Indians have responded this situation, and the implications of this for presumed divisions between the environmental knowledge of scientists and native peoples. In Part Two, I examine a 1975 water rights case, United States v. Adair et al. I explore how the court drew on and reproduced prominent narratives of American Indian history, and the ways these narratives bounded the agency of the Klamath in relation to the environment and the colonial process. In Part Three, I examine a dispute in 2001 over endangered species. In this conflict, a dispute over policy quickly became a dispute over the scientific claims that legitimated the policy. Expert disagreement ensued. Although political explanations for expert disagreement were common, I suggest that a more underlying cause was the unavoidable uncertainties of ecological claims. These uncertainties were politically useful to those who wanted to stall management action and maintain the status quo.
Thesis (Ph. D. in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS))--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program in Science, Technology and Society, 2010.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 279-293).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Science, Technology and Society.