Mini-workshop: Dealing with the Unintended in Ecology, Animal Rights and Wildlife Conservation

The protection of environment is one of the most important challenges of contemporary times. While the protection of endangered species and – more generally – of animals  became an indisputable achievement of modern moral standards.

When pursuing these valuable goals, however, the social agents often have to cope with dilemmas that are difficult to overcome, or they find themselves in paradoxical situations. These come to realize that actions focused on strictly “ecological” aspects may be too narrow. Or that their accomplishments pale in comparison with the unintended consequences of their actions. As such, steps in wildlife conservation may be overshadowed by the fact that African families are being deprived of their livelihood (hunting), or the legitimacy of advancements in the area of carbon emissions reduction may be questioned by the undesired effects in industry structure and employment.

This raises the question whether the effective protection of environment is contingent upon taking into account the possible unintended results of “green” actions when trying to bring about structural change. It also triggers sociological curiosity with regard to the manner in which norm entrepreneurs and social agents deal with the unintended in ecology, animal rights and wildlife conservation.

The following themes could be addressed:

  • What mechanisms and strategies of managing the unintended are observable in ecology, animal rights and wildlife conservation?
  • How do the agents select the unintended consequences that have to be coped with, from those that can be ignored?
  • Who is responsible for the unintended consequences occurring in ecology, animal rights and wildlife conservation?
  • What are the characteristics of the forums debating the unintended consequences?
  • How is dealing with the unintended in ecology, animal rights and wildlife conservation different from dealing with the unintended in other domains?
  • Is there more perversity or more serendipity?
  • What are the characteristics of the rhetoric of unintended consequences?

Organizer: Barbara Błońska (University of Warsaw) – bablonska@gmail.com