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Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Institut d'Història de la Ciència

PhD Work in Progress

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Detalls de l'event

Collective labour, voices, ‘*país*’. Narrating the making of the Ecological
and Forest Inventory of Catalonia (1986-2004)

Work in Progress de Max Bautista
(Doctorand a Université catholique de Louvain i visitant predoctoral a l'iHC-UAB)
 (presentat pel Dr. Carlos Tabernero, director de l'iHC-UAB)

                                                          14/6/24, 12h (CET)
       Sala Seminari iHC
                                                          Enllaç Teams


What is the relationship between environmentalism and nationalism in the scientific sphere? Here I lay out my work of the past months on a case study set in the (post) Spanish political transition: the making of the Ecological and Forest Inventory of Catalonia (IEFC), which started in 1986 and was carried out by scientists, technicians, and support staff at the newly founded Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Center (CREAF). I’ll begin this presentation by discussing how oral history has informed both methodologically and theoretically this project, and my experience working with people and their voices. I’ll then discuss three themes that I have focused on in the last few months. First, the notion of ‘país’ as condensing both Catalanist, environmentalist, and scientific values, through a defence of the land and Catalan identity understood in its physical terms. I will then continue with the theme of ‘carving a space’, where I’ll recount how, in the context of the Spanish political decentralisation process of the 1980s, terrestrial ecologists carved a disciplinary space that did not exist previously between aquatic ecology and forest engineering; between centralised science and Catalan science. The third theme, ‘collective labour’, deploys class and emotions as analytic categories to explain processes of participation and exclusion in science. Concretely, I’ll delve into the relationship between Catalan bourgeois scientific elites and working-class technicians in the making of a nation-building project such as the IEFC. I’ll finish by addressing and problematising my initial research question and propose some narratives to understand the relationship between nationalism, environmentalism, and science. I’ll conclude with some remarks on what
an oral history of science can look like.


Max Bautista is a predoctoral researcher in the history and philosophy of science, completing his PhD at the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He has been a visiting fellow at the iHC since January 2024. He is interested in the relationship between science and politics and is working on the emergence of scientific environmentalism –the idea that science has the capacity, duty and legitimacy to propose solutions to environmental problems– during the Spanish political transition from the Francoist regime towards democracy. His thesis focuses on the emergence of different discourses, practices, institutionalisations and social movements around different conceptualisations of ‘forest biodiversity’. In 2021, he co-founded the ‘Journal of Trial and Error’. His background is in biology (Maastricht), neuroscience (Strasbourg)
and history and philosophy of science (Utrecht).