Finding the balance : exploring the relations between the production of knowledge about the human-nature relationship and environmental ethics in the implementation of biodiversity offsets policies in Colombia

par Robin Dianoux

Projet de thèse en Sociologie

Sous la direction de Francis Chateauraynaud et de Luigi Pellizzoni.


  • Résumé

    As a number of researchers have shown, most ecological questions are tackled at the level of the society in a techno-managerial way that uses vague concepts such as "sustainability" or "preservation of the environment" and invisibilize the modes of valuation of nature and the ethical stances that lead our societal relations with the environment. But the increased reflexivity toward the impact of human activities on the environment and on the climate, as well as the integration of the concept of biodiversity in the environmental policies, deeply transformed the way humans are framing their relation to nature and to the non-humans. To understand how this transformation impacts the ethics that are mobilized to describe the desirable relations toward the environment, it is therefore necessary to examine further the links between the evolution of the description of the meaningful properties of the environment and of the processes of valuing them. One way of approaching this is to study the recent development of biodiversity offset policies, since they involve the explicitation of what are the biodiversity components, why they matter and how they relate to each other. As they are implemented in specific countries, the norms and rules on which they are based, and that are promoted by a variety of international institutions, are reinterpreted and adjusted to fit the local context. Taking as a case study the implementation of biodiversity offsets policies in Colombia, my research will explore the relation between the social construction of knowledge about the human-nature relationship and the ethics of the relations toward socio-environments in the Colombian society. To do this, I will study the dynamics of framing of the issue of biodiversity in the discourses and what they reveal, explicitly or implicitly, about the ways the ‘human/nature’ relationship is understood. Through the study of the implementation of biodiversity offsets' normative background I will then try to understand how those framings impact the ethics guiding the processes leading the actors to specific forms of possibly contested relations with the environment or to choose specific types of actions to promote. I will then investigate how those discourses and norms are reflected in practice in a particular case, how those practices impact and inform in return the ethics of the actors and how they relate to divergent local practices.


  • Résumé

    As a number of researchers have shown, most ecological questions are tackled at the level of the society in a techno-managerial way that uses vague concepts such as "sustainability" or "preservation of the environment" and invisibilize the modes of valuation of nature and the ethical stances that lead our societal relations with the environment. But the increased reflexivity toward the impact of human activities on the environment and on the climate, as well as the integration of the concept of biodiversity in the environmental policies, deeply transformed the way humans are framing their relation to nature and to the non-humans. To understand how this transformation impacts the ethics that are mobilized to describe the desirable relations toward the environment, it is therefore necessary to examine further the links between the evolution of the description of the meaningful properties of the environment and of the processes of valuing them. One way of approaching this is to study the recent development of biodiversity offset policies, since they involve the explicitation of what are the biodiversity components, why they matter and how they relate to each other. As they are implemented in specific countries, the norms and rules on which they are based, and that are promoted by a variety of international institutions, are reinterpreted and adjusted to fit the local context. Taking as a case study the implementation of biodiversity offsets policies in Colombia, my research will explore the relation between the social construction of knowledge about the human-nature relationship and the ethics of the relations toward socio-environments in the Colombian society. To do this, I will study the dynamics of framing of the issue of biodiversity in the discourses and what they reveal, explicitly or implicitly, about the ways the ‘human/nature’ relationship is understood. Through the study of the implementation of biodiversity offsets' normative background I will then try to understand how those framings impact the ethics guiding the processes leading the actors to specific forms of possibly contested relations with the environment or to choose specific types of actions to promote. I will then investigate how those discourses and norms are reflected in practice in a particular case, how those practices impact and inform in return the ethics of the actors and how they relate to divergent local practices.