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Natives and aliens: who and what belongs in nature and in the nation?
journal contributionposted on 16.10.2020, 10:41 by Marco Antonsich
The distinction between native and alien species is a main tenet of various natural sciences, invasion biology in particular. However, it is also a contested one, as it does not reflect the biological features of a species, but only its place of origin and migration history. The present article offers a brief genealogy of the native/alien divide and argues that central to this binary is a national thinking which divides the world into distinct (national) units, enclosed by (natural) borders, with a unique (native) population attached to these spatial units. The article illustrates this argument by looking at two interrelated processes: the nationalisation of nature, by which the national thinking intervenes as an organising principle in determining ecological inclusion/exclusion, and the naturalisation of the nation, through which the nation is given an ontological status. Taken together these two processes confirm the continuing salience of the nation as a b-ordering principle actively constituting both the social and natural world, also in times of anthropogenic changes and increasing people’s mobility.
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- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Geography and Environment