Peter Taber

About Peter Taber

My dissertation uses the example of biodiversity conservation in Ecuador to understand the institutionalization of the environment as a political and economic concern over the last 30 years in that country.  I am informed by three primary theoretical resources. First, I draw on studies of governmentality initiated by Michel Foucault to understand the scientific, capitalist and state arrangements that emerged to study and govern biodiversity in Ecuador beginning in the mid-1980s.  Second, I use literature from science and technology studies to shed light on the social and technological arrangements that have configured biodiversity as an "economic externality" in the context of petroleum development.  Finally, I borrow from literature on "knowledge infrastructures" to understand how techniques for making and storing environmental knowledge have conditioned environmental governance across neoliberal and "post-neoliberal" political contexts in the 1990s and 2000s. Based on archival and ethnographic materials, my work draws attention to both the historical specificity of contemporary environmental concerns, and their relationship with characteristically modern political and economic problems.

Research Interests

biodiversity, governmentality, economization, infrastructure, neoliberalism/post-neoliberalism, Ecuador, Latin America

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Contact Information


PhD, Anthropology, University of Arizona, Spring 2017

MA, Anthropology, University of Arizona, 2010

BA, Anthropology, University of Nebraska, 2002