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Environment Research Group PhD Seminar: Geographies of the Aquatic - Otter Predation in Specimen Fisheries and Maritime Mobilities of the Superrich

John Clayton and Emma Spence, School of Planning and Geography
Tuesday 11th March 2014 - 4:00pm
Glamorgan Building Council Chamber

John Clayton - ‘Otter predation and specimen fisheries’: Figuring the assemblage, an ontological synthesis in the quest for relevant questions’

There is concern within the angling fraternity and industry that the increased population spread and density of the Eurasian or European Otter (Lutra Lutra) in the British Isles threatens ecological disaster as a result of predation within specimen fisheries countrywide.  The renewed success of otters has been produced as a result of its managed reintroduction by a handful of governmental and non-governmental agencies, changes in farming practices, and their legal protection under UK & EU Law since 1978.

Commencing from a desire to problematize the potentialities of the otter-fish-angler-fishery assemblage, an allegorical narrative of predation is utilised in this paper to anticipate the interactions of the actors involved and how these may co-produce the apparent context of conflict.  Through the application of concepts drawn from actor-network theory and Deleuzian cosmology the complexities of the assemblage are drawn out in the search for relevant questions. 

This presentation will explore how notions of assemblage, multiplicity and enactment might be used to further inform a research strategy.  The objective of this speculative exercise is to distil the dominant themes concerning the assemblage elements and position the researcher in relation to them.  Through a theoretical synthesis with the empirical context it will be shown that new questions are produced which evoke the necessity of anomalous practices by non-human actors.  It is revealed through this reflexive positioning that a potential for conflict resolution may exist in the tessellation of alternate enactments.

Emma Spence - Assembling mobile methods: A case study of superrich mobility and maritime geographies

Until quite recently it would have been reasonable to claim that the sea had been largely neglected by human geographers (as argued by Lambert et al, Peters 2010, and Mack 2011). However, a recent surge in geographical enquiries of the sea have re-centered geographical focus, away from a typically terrestrial focus and towards waterscapes (Anderson and Peters 2013: 4). As such it is no longer true to say that the sea is marginalized in human geography. The question now therefore is not why should we look at the sea, but how. In preparation for upcoming fieldwork I use this presentation to outline and discuss the role of mobile methods in exploring superrich mobility at sea.