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Wild ArticulationsEnvironmentalism and Indigeneity in Northern Australia$
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Timothy Neale

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824873110

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824873110.001.0001

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Cosmopolitics on the Wenlock River

Cosmopolitics on the Wenlock River

(p.206) Chapter 6 Cosmopolitics on the Wenlock River
Wild Articulations

Timothy Neale

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter 6 focuses on the most controversial of the Wild Rivers Act declarations: the Wenlock River area. The Wenlock spans almost the entire breadth of the region and includes a diverse but discrete assembly of stakeholders: three Indigenous local government areas and three separate native title claimant groups; an Indigenous Protected Area, a national park, a privately managed nature refuge and a wildlife reserve dedicated to the late television conservationist Steve Irwin; a bauxite mining project; and, finally, an array of nonhuman actors such as estuarine crocodiles, spotted cuscuses, orchids, aquifers and water flows themselves. Adopting philosopher Isabelle Stengers’ ‘cosmopolitical proposal’, this chapter proposes that we might think of a ‘wild river’ not only as a legal object or waterway but also as a network that intimately links the specific worlds of diverse knowledges and practices accumulating around it. The Act forced the matter of how these worlds are rendered quantifiable and comparable today. How are we to adjudicate their relative existence? The future of these rivers is a matter of realizing the relations of allegiance and incompatibility between these worlds.

Keywords:   cosmopolitics, indigenous people, Bruno Latour, development, Steve Irwin

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