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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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SPECIAL SECTION: AFFECTIVE ECOLOGIES
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 52-63

Volunteer Environmental Stewardship and Affective Labour in Philadelphia


School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, 440 Church St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

Correspondence Address:
Alec Foster
School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, 440 Church St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_16_49

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Recent research has critically evaluated the rapid growth of volunteer urban environmental stewardship. Framings of this phenomenon have largely focused upon environmentality and/or neoliberal environments, unfortunately often presenting a totalising picture of the state and/or market utilising power from above to create environmental subjects with limited agency available to local citizens. Based upon qualitative research with volunteer urban environmental stewards in Philadelphia, affective labour is proposed as an alternative explanation for participation. Stewards volunteered their time and labour due to the intense emotional attachments they formed with their neighbourhoods, neighbours, and nonhuman others in relationships of affective labour. Volunteer urban environmental stewardship as affective labour provides room for agency on the part of individuals and groups involved in volunteer urban environmental reproduction and opens up new ways of relating to and being with human and nonhuman others.


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