An Unexpected Politics of Population: Salmon Counting, Science, and Advocacy in the Columbia River Basin

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An Unexpected Politics of Population : Salmon Counting, Science, and Advocacy in the Columbia River Basin. / Swanson, Heather Anne.

In: Current Anthropology, Vol. 60, No. S20, 08.2019, p. S272-S285.

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@article{bdd1cd5931dc4b2781308bef74b52df9,
title = "An Unexpected Politics of Population: Salmon Counting, Science, and Advocacy in the Columbia River Basin",
abstract = "Through the case of salmon population science in the Columbia River Basin, this article explores how political mobilizations can sometimes use quantitative analysis of populations in unexpected ways. In the Columbia River, both fish counting and such controversial concepts as carrying capacity have served as tools not only for conservation advocacy but also, at times, for probing histories of settler colonialism and building alliances across difference. By examining the unusual case of salmon tallying and research in this region, this article argues that while population biology has been repeatedly used within problematic and even violent state projects, in certain contexts it can also become a practice of multispecies noticing and a catalyst for new coalitions. Based on this example, the article raises broad questions about what renewed attention to population biology might contribute to the growing subfield of more-than-human anthropology. It argues that anthropologists have not paid enough attention to the possibilities for numbers and population concepts to positively contribute to movements for more livable worlds. In light of this example, this article aims to foster additional anthropological attention to the situated and context-specific politics of scientific practices and tools.",
keywords = "CARRYING CAPACITIES, LANDSCAPES, DENSITY, ECOLOGY, HISTORY",
author = "Swanson, {Heather Anne}",
year = "2019",
month = aug,
doi = "10.1086/703392",
language = "English",
volume = "60",
pages = "S272--S285",
journal = "Current Anthropology",
issn = "0011-3204",
publisher = "University of Chicago Press",
number = "S20",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - An Unexpected Politics of Population

T2 - Salmon Counting, Science, and Advocacy in the Columbia River Basin

AU - Swanson, Heather Anne

PY - 2019/8

Y1 - 2019/8

N2 - Through the case of salmon population science in the Columbia River Basin, this article explores how political mobilizations can sometimes use quantitative analysis of populations in unexpected ways. In the Columbia River, both fish counting and such controversial concepts as carrying capacity have served as tools not only for conservation advocacy but also, at times, for probing histories of settler colonialism and building alliances across difference. By examining the unusual case of salmon tallying and research in this region, this article argues that while population biology has been repeatedly used within problematic and even violent state projects, in certain contexts it can also become a practice of multispecies noticing and a catalyst for new coalitions. Based on this example, the article raises broad questions about what renewed attention to population biology might contribute to the growing subfield of more-than-human anthropology. It argues that anthropologists have not paid enough attention to the possibilities for numbers and population concepts to positively contribute to movements for more livable worlds. In light of this example, this article aims to foster additional anthropological attention to the situated and context-specific politics of scientific practices and tools.

AB - Through the case of salmon population science in the Columbia River Basin, this article explores how political mobilizations can sometimes use quantitative analysis of populations in unexpected ways. In the Columbia River, both fish counting and such controversial concepts as carrying capacity have served as tools not only for conservation advocacy but also, at times, for probing histories of settler colonialism and building alliances across difference. By examining the unusual case of salmon tallying and research in this region, this article argues that while population biology has been repeatedly used within problematic and even violent state projects, in certain contexts it can also become a practice of multispecies noticing and a catalyst for new coalitions. Based on this example, the article raises broad questions about what renewed attention to population biology might contribute to the growing subfield of more-than-human anthropology. It argues that anthropologists have not paid enough attention to the possibilities for numbers and population concepts to positively contribute to movements for more livable worlds. In light of this example, this article aims to foster additional anthropological attention to the situated and context-specific politics of scientific practices and tools.

KW - CARRYING CAPACITIES

KW - LANDSCAPES

KW - DENSITY

KW - ECOLOGY

KW - HISTORY

U2 - 10.1086/703392

DO - 10.1086/703392

M3 - Journal article

VL - 60

SP - S272-S285

JO - Current Anthropology

JF - Current Anthropology

SN - 0011-3204

IS - S20

ER -