Power and politics: translations

WATERTON, C. (2007): Od terénu k představám: Klasifikace přírody a vytváření Evropy [From field to fantasy: Classifying nature, constructing Europe]. Biograf, (43-44): 3-32 - translated by Zdeněk Konopásek

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This paper sets out some observations on the making, and use, of contemporary classifications of nature in the context of a simultaneous and on-going "making" of Europe. It looks in particular at two classifications, one of British vegetation communities and the other of European "biotopes" (a concept that closely relates to natural or semi-natural "habitats") – respectively, the UK National Vegetation Classification (NVC) and the EU CORINE Biotopes Classification. It investigates aspects of the relationship between these two classifications which has come about through their use in a European conservation policy. The CORINE Biotopes classification, in particular, represents a new ordering of nature in a very active sense: it is a good example of a "working archive", and is intimately tied into policy decisions at many levels in Europe. The paper addresses questions as to how contemporary classifications are being made and used, and whether certain tacit understandings and conceptual frameworks "built in" to them reflect back upon the world at a later stage. It argues that these classifications do not always simply reflect the assumptions and understandings built into them: once in the policy domain, they are not as "reversible" as that. Their categories quickly become unstable, mutating and interacting in sometimes unpredictable ways. The two classifications, through their relationship with policy, have a jointly evolving history. The continual renewal of meaning attached to classes within these classifications appears to reflect outwards rather than inwards – in chorus with the broader social and political context, rather than reflecting the condition of their making. In their evolving forms, they illustrate very well the complex nature of the dynamic between unity and diversity, centre and periphery, that lies at the heart of the European Union.
Translated from WATERTON, C. (2002): From field to fantasy: Classifying nature, constructing Europe. Social Studies of Science, 32 (2): 177-204

ANDRLE, V. (1996): Muži na svém místě: legitimizační témata v autobiografickém vyprávění elitních podnikatelů s minulostí "starých struktur" [Men in the right place: Legitimation themes in the autobiographical talk of elite businessmen with 'old structure' pasts]. Biograf Bulletin, (6): 17-27 - translated by Zdeněk Konopásek

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Based on a business élite subsample of biographical interviews, the article explores the ways in which respondents who had had high executive positions in the communist state sought to imbue that fact as well as their post-revolutionary wealth acquisition with a sense of post-revolutionary legitimacy. a) They dissociated themselves from the communist regime by claiming that oppressive power was located in other offices than the ones they occupied; b) they presented their careers as ones which enabled them to accumulate expertise relevant to doing well in the market economy; c) they presented themselves as ancestrally linked to the first-republic bourgoisie and personally connected with the current (supposedly liberal-democratic) government; d) they drew on the collective memory of previous revolutions to dismiss their militant critics.

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Zdeněk Konopásek: Angažovaná nezaujatost? Věda a politika v antropocénu [Committed disinterestedness? Science and politics in Anthropocene]

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