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Grasping and grounding Europe through seabirds and eelgrass: Environmental policy affordances in Arcachon Bay (France)

Abstract : This paper draws on an empirical study to demonstrate how a ‘geographical’ work underpins the implementation of European Union (EU) directives on Birds, Habitats and Water. Indeed, this geographical work plays a key role in local institutionalizations of the EU. Our hypothesis is that social players, i.e., local actors, scientists and citizens, deploy both cognitive and material means to ‘get a grasp’ on nature in order to put environmental policies into practice. To test our hypothesis, we coupled two concepts, ‘affordance’ and ‘anchoring’, and analyzed interviews and documents relating to the implementation of EU policies in Arcachon Bay, southwest of France. Our research highlighted the importance of two affordances – ‘wetland birds’ and ‘eelgrass’ – used by social players to anchor environmental policies. Moreover, it revealed that the grasping and anchoring of nature is a social process of selection and exclusion, imposing boundaries and distributing power. For all these reasons, we conclude that ‘Europe in the making’ involves countless low and high-intensity conflicts which only locally embedded research can elucidate.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03255620
Contributor : Ludovic Ginelli <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 4:32:18 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 9:54:36 AM

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Ludovic Ginelli, Sophie Le Floch. Grasping and grounding Europe through seabirds and eelgrass: Environmental policy affordances in Arcachon Bay (France). Environmental Science and Policy, Elsevier, 2021, 123, pp.58-66. ⟨10.1016/j.envsci.2021.05.003⟩. ⟨hal-03255620⟩

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