Current Institutional Affiliation
Lecturer, Education, University of Wisconsin / Stevens Point

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2004
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Wisconsin / Madison
How`s the Weather? Sociocultural Meanings of Weather and Climate in Cornwall, England

This project is a local level ethnographic study of the social construction of climate among farmers, fishers, scientists, and other inhabitants of rural Cornwall, England. The focus will be on cultural understandings, human relationships, and social practices that give climate its meaning, rather than human responses to climate as a physical constraint on human action. I will analyze how social constructions of climate influence politics, policy, and global climate change research, and will further explore how implicit assumptions about climate in anthropology obscure the variety of purposes for which the concept is used. Through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, story-telling, and archival research, the proposed research: (1) examines how climate is mediated by scientific, cultural, economic, and political processes, and (2) documents cultural assumptions about climate in the research area, and relates these to behavioral practices and occasions where climate knowledge is produced. Analyzing climate in cultural terms will offer insights into the role of the climate concept in maintaining political inequalities, and will have cross-disciplinary relevance for ecological anthropology, geography, rural sociology, environmental studies, and atmospheric sciences.