The ocean and its biodiversity have been attracting increasing interest from a humanities perspective over the last decades. The book Elusive Partners aims to provide a valuable insight into this research work on marine species, with a specific focus on the French-speaking world. Taking its inspiration from an interdisciplinary dialogue developed over several years at the National Museum of Natural History (Paris), this book highlights the need for comparative and long-term research on the most contemporary issues associated with marine species, particularly those related to conservation policies. Algae, cetaceans, seabirds, pinnipeds, turtles, corals and fish, but also more unexpected travellers – such as elephants or mice – compose a bestiary whose versatility and social, historical and political import are fully restored.
Alix Levain is an anthropologist and research fellow at the CNRS (UMR 6308 AMURE, Brest). Her research focuses on the lived experience of environmental change, which she approaches mainly through ethnography and participatory research. She is currently working on the politics of knowledge and on the affects associated with confronting the destruction of marine and coastal environments.
Hélène Artaud is an anthropologist, lecturer, habilitated to supervise research (HDR) at the National Museum of Natural History (UMR 208, Paris) and co-editor of the series Natures en Sociétés. Her research explores the variety of forms of interaction of human societies with the maritime environment. She is notably the author of Immersion, published by La Découverte (2023).
Émilie Mariat-Roy is currently a lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Tours. She also manages the Library of Maritime Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, and is an associated member of the Local Heritage, Environment and Globalization research unit (UMR 208, Paris). Her research addresses fishermen’s professional knowledge and the status of this knowledge, as well as the modalities of occupying maritime spaces in the context of the “greening” process of public policies.
Frédérique Chlous is an anthropologist and a professor at the National Museum of Natural History (Paris), where she heads the “Humans and the Environment” department. Her research, mostly conducted in an interdisciplinary manner, focuses on the relationship between humans and marine environments and investigates local knowledge and know-how as well as representations of the environment. She is currently working on the forms of governance in natural areas and their evaluation.