The “Adaptive Management” of a New Nature along the Southern English Coastline

  • Rebecca Empson University College London
Keywords: nature/culture, edges, adaptive management, coastal engineering, EU legislation, new political subjectivities, perceptions of environmental change, ontological infrastructure


This article explores the tensions between different understandings about how best to manage a stretch of coastline that is threatened by a new piece of land that emerged out of the sea. It looks at the kinds of political worlds this environmental change has engendered and the dynamic shaping of people and places through such change. It argues that in managing the edges of the sea and land in this area, people also forge themselves as new kinds of subjects in a political landscape that is shifting and changing. Contrasting views about how best to manage these changes illuminate the politics of how best to adapt and manage different environments and the people who shape and are shaped by them. 

Author Biography

Rebecca Empson, University College London

Rebecca Empson is a Reader in Anthropology at University College London, in the UK. She has published on ideas about kinship, relatedness, human-object relations, forms of exchange, and types of ownership. She is currently running a five-year European Research Council-funded project exploring the kinds of subjects emerging in Mongolia’s mineral economy. Her forthcoming monograph on this topic, Life in the Gap, will be published with UCL Press. 

03 May 2017
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