Negotiating ‘Generativity’ Among Human and Non-Human Actors: Re-Organizing Aquaculture in Social- Ecological Restoration of the Contaminated and Devastated Coastal Spaces in the Post-War Japan

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Mayumi FUKUNAGA, University of Tokyo, Japan
This paper examines socio-cultural assumptions underlying to what White (1996) has framed the ‘organic machine model’ and contrasts it with the so-called ‘adaptive ecosystem management model’ as they are implicated as dichotomous forces in notions of ‘productivity’ in redevelopment of lands and waters polluted and devastated as an externalized consequence of economic modernization. Through a case study of historical processes of re-organizing coastal aquaculture in postwar Japan, we can decipher that this dichotomy has underpinned governmental and capitalist actors in their efforts to optimize ‘productivity.’ Use of discourse analysis, along with ethnographic and archival materials, elucidates that such disparate policy interventions have functioned as an ordered, hegemonic, and disciplined system amidst these two sets of contradictions: On the one hand, the ‘organic machine model’ promotes supplanting natural population stocks and biophysical ecosystem processes with artificed and simplified ecosystems, underlain by naïve instrumentality and focused on maximizing short-term sustained, commodified quantities, as seen in postwar mono-culture cultivation of fish. In contrast, the adaptive ecosystem management model promotes participatory governance among relevant human-community stakeholders, in service to (re-)establishing ecosystem resilience and sustaining replenishable populations of desired resources, as witnessed in recent efforts at organic oyster farming in Seto Inland Sea. A case study highlights how these two sets of contradictory systems can interact dialectically, including through biodiversity-oriented political framings, market and consumers trends, and changes in local livelihood strategies by local producers seeking to (re-)make generative livelihood practices and placeness. As such, in practice, re-organization of aquaculture regenerates natural forces and adaptive networks among humans and non-humans, while tactically using scientific-engineering coupled with adaptive governance of social-ecological dynamics. The paper concludes that human efforts to negotiate ‘generativity’ among human and non-human beings, which originally differentiates among species, arise as an essential pillar of creating local governance for socio-ecological resilience in the Anthropocene.