Habiter l’Antarctique ? Preliminary study : anthropological analysis and Participative Action Research

This project aims to study the feasibility of multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research at the heart of the polar activities in the Southern and Antarctic Lands and Seas. The question “How are protected spaces and places inhabited?” is raised using a dialogue between the environmental sciences, the general anthropology and the Participatory Action Research methodology designed for engaged inquiry.

HABIT-ANT? pilot study, is the first phase of a project that questions the notion of inhabitat in Antarctica. This question is grounded on an important paradox that naturally finds its place in the contemporary preoccupations surrounding Antarctica: to be physically present in a space is a unique and irreplaceable experience, moreover, to make a place exist can happen very differently, by thought, memory, imagination or intuition.

The HABIT-ANT? pilot study is to be deployed in East Antarctica in the form of an anthropological exploration centered on different sites and presenting a past or current human presence. On this occasion, Participatory Action Research (PAR) experiments will be conducted both on the site and far from Antarctica, involving different stakeolders involved in Antarctica through their work or personal interest. The output of the project is to carry out the first anthropological exploration ever on a French Antarctic base.

The second pilot result is to create an interdisciplinary study group with different stakeholders in Antarctica, based on the values of the Antarctic Treaty System and able to address the question “How are protected or to protected spaces and places inhabited?”. The hypothesis is that singularity of Antarctica imposes a particular treatment that can feed the reflection on other sites facing similar issues.