Bruno Latour and Environmental Governance

*Call for Papers: submit abstracts by 16 March 2015*
*Workshop: 18-19 May 2015, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK*

Since the 1980s Bruno Latour has attempted to supplant the prevailing image
of science by proposing a pragmatic and anthropological perspective.
According to Latour, scientific practices forge ‘objective’ and ‘accurate’
knowledge that speaks on behalf of the world. Latour has written
extensively on climate change and ecological politics, and on the
challenges posed by the figure of Gaia for thought and for scientific and
political practice. However, he has made limited reference to the specifics
of the work carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) and similar institutions involved in mobilising knowledge for
environmental governance.

The IPCC is the leading international authority for the assessment of
climate change. Formed in 1988 by the United Nations Environmental
Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the IPCC
produces reports that assess and summarise scientific literature on the
physical science of climate change, adaptation and mitigation.

The two-day workshop takes as its starting point the idea the Latour’s work
can be used to explain and understand the workings of environmental
governance, using the IPCC as a prime example.

– *Download full introduction and related reading (pdf)*

Open Call and Special Issue

The outcome of the workshop is a special issue of Science and Technology
Studies <> to  be published in
2016. A list of key deadlines can be found below. We invite authors to
investigate and explore the following questions:

– How does the IPCC function, and how can Latour’s ideas about ‘science
in the making’ provide an understanding of the IPCC’s role as an institute
invoved with climate change?
– How can Latour’s concerns about diplomacy be used to consider public
and political trust attributed to the IPCC?
– What to Latour’s ideas about science and diplomacy imply for the
researchers who wish to involve themselves with the IPCC and climate change
more generally?
– How might the framework of the ‘Modes of Existence’ project of
Latour’s other ontological inventions be used to understand the work of the
IPCC or other institutions of environmental governance?
– To what extent does Latour’s reading of democracy, and his attempt to
bring non-humans into democracy, help us to understand the politics of
environmental governance?
– How do the different actors involved in the work of the IPCC
interrelate, and what forms of translation take place between them? How
successful are these translation
– How does the organisational praxis of the IPCC relate to broader
networks and forms of action?
– How does climate change, or environmental change more generally,
unsettle our ontologies and require new forms of thinking?

Attending the workshop

A two-day workshop will be held on 18-19 May 2015 at Cumberland Lodge
<>. The workshop will be structured
to maximise discussion and review of the papers submitted in April
(participants will be asked to review each other’s papers). A full
programme for the workshop will be posted here when available.

The workshop and special issue project are organised and funded jointly by
UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL
STEaPP) and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Local costs
and some travel costs will be covered.
Key deadlines

– *16 March 2015:* deadline for abstracts (500-1000 words). Submit your
proposal by email to Matthijs Kouw (matthijs.kouw[at]
– *30 March 2015: *invitations will be sent out to participate in the
workshop and to submit short papers
– *30 April 2015: *deadline for short papers (2000-2500 words)
– *18-19 May 2015:* workshop at Cumberland Lodge
– *28 September 2015: *deadline for full papers and commencement of peer
review by the journal

The organisers are Professor Arthur Petersen
<>, Dr Theo Lorenc
<>, and Dr Matthijs Kouw
<>. Please direct all enquiries to Matthijs
Kouw (matthijs.kouw[at] in the first instance.


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