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The Technocratic Antarctic


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Imagined Antarctic 2. The Environmental History of the Antarctic 3. Sensing the Ice 4. Samples and Specimens at Antarctic Biosecurity Borders 5. Managing Antarctic Science in an Epistemic Technocracy 6. Tectonic Time and Sacred Geographies in the Larsemann Hills 7. Charismatic Data and Climate Change Conclusion: The Technocratic Governance of Nature

About the Author

Jessica O'Reilly is Assistant Professor in the Department of International Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.


"The Technocratic Antarctic tackles important questions about how nature is discovered and policy crafted, intimately intertwined practices binding multiple communities of scientists and policymakers. Jessica O'Reilly has chosen a fascinating field site: the continent of Antarctica and its various outposts-scientific labs, environmental management agencies, Greenpeace mobilizations, the airport in New Zealand, and international meeting rooms scattered across the globe. O'Reilly chronicles five engrossing case studies that illustrate the ways in which science and policy are necessarily imbricated in the most mundane activities and the most monumental."-Martha Lampland, University of California, San Diego, coeditor of Standards and Their Stories: How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life "The Technocratic Antarctic takes us to the icy limits, spinning an engaging tale of science and expertise in, around, and for Antarctica. Detailing the works and lives of scientists and policy folk researching and administering the continent at Earth's southern pole, Jessica O'Reilly demonstrates that 'Antarctica' is made not just in its grounded geographical location, but also in the imaginations and off-site practices of people in 'round-the-world circuits of natural science and transnational governance. Antarctica, O'Reilly's ethnography persuasively shows, has become a technocratic wilderness - a place at once measured, monitored, and modeled, but also ever unfinished. O'Reilly is an expert guide into this space both everyday and extreme."-Stefan Helmreich, Elting E. Morison Professor of Anthropology, MIT, author of Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas "The anthropology of science, born with Bruno Latour's Laboratory Life, now enters its second phase with Jessica O'Reilly's The Technocratic Antarctic. She moves from the laboratory to the field, from networks that link scientists, instruments, objects, and texts to networks that link scientists, policymakers, and entire landscapes. She expands Latour's view of scientists as humans who observe and think by showing how they feel. Her accounts of men and women at the edge of the world on Antarctic ice lie at the center of new approaches to science."-Ben Orlove, author of Lines in the Water

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