MEMOTRADE: Social memory of water-related trades and practices: local knowledge and climate change adaptation
The Natura 2000 network of protected sites aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU, and features prominently in the environmental policy of the European Union. However, in the Natura sites the pursuit of these goals relies heavily on scientific and legal-institutional knowledge, and little room is left for the building up of adaptive capacity based also on local knowledge. This means that communities there residing become “interested parties” where they could be also “agents of change”.
This project intends to contribute to fill in this gap in a two-fold way: (1) by turning local knowledge into a long-term asset for climate change adaptation, by preparing a “memory bank” of water-related practices and trades that can be critically analyzed, combined, and integrated with other types of knowledge; (2) by helping to integrate adaptation into current routines through the sharing, in both vertical and horizontal workshops, of local knowledge and social memories with scientific and legal knowledge, as a way to increase mutual awareness and hybridization among different types of knowledge.
The project purports to address these aspects, responding to the need for developing more detailed regional information on the impacts of climate change, through a bottom-up descriptive approach. It will do so by selecting in each of the 3 countries (Portugal, France and Greece) 1 important coastal protected site for studying local knowledge of biodiversity relevant topics, social memory of water-related local trades and practices, and social memory of forms of tying social relations to the use of local resources. The traditional trades focused include fishing, shell-fish and seaweed collection, but also uses of the land in the shoreline, and uses of seeds and plants in everyday and medicinal practices.
The project is organized in three main phases; a first one for gathering scientific and local information; a second phase for developing in-depth case-studies to access local knowledge and memories and constructing the memory bank, as well as to respond to specific research questions; and a third phase of archiving, dissemination and discussion of the results with the local communities and key stakeholders. Throughout the project, several activities will ensure the management and broad scientific dissemination of the results.
The methods to be used for the case-studies include open interviews, press analysis and a survey. The interviews will use the innovative methods of recorded walking interviews and recorded walking memories. The interview and survey studies will also be an occasion for addressing two main groups of socio-psychological questions. The first regards some of the persistent controversies about the nature of local knowledge and the results of its encounters with both scientific and legal knowledge, and will examine the conflicts as well as the adaptive resources and forms of knowledge hybridization that emerge from these encounters. The second regards the articulation of social representations, practices and place attachment.
The results include also the creation of a “memory bank” of local knowledge and narratives, to be archived both in the community and nationally, and actively shared during the project; fostering encounters between different types of knowledge, oriented for increasing mutual awareness and developing new social and trade responses for dealing with uncertainty associated to climate change in protected coastal sites; and policy recommendations for action at the EU level.
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