Essam, Alice

Essam, Alice
Start date:
October 2018
Research Topic:
Medicinal plant socio-ecologies in Brazil and the UK
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Antonio Ioris
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This research explores how knowledge and practice using medicinal plants as a human-nature nexus might help bridge the ‘epistemic rift’ that seems to characterise social-ecological relations based on industrialism and capitalism.

The research involves a parallel study of communities at two ends of the industrial spectrum which engage with and use medicinal plants as a medium for socio-ecological participation. The first in southern Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil – an area of intensive soya, maize and sugar cane production – impacted by agro-extraction and exportation, the second, in and around Bristol, a city with an industrial history characterised by consumption of importation, but where a herbalist community is growing.

Through the research I will attend to questions over epistemology and ontology of ‘socio-nature’ and explore how these are present in two different products of time and place.