Publication Type:Conference Paper
Source:Paper presented at ``Centre for Science Studies and Centre for the Study of Environmental Change Seminar Series `Mixtures''', Lancaster (2011)
Keywords:Actor-Network Theory, Carbon, Carbon emissions, distributed agency, ethnography, ordering, structure and agency
By way of following agents of ecological modernisation in their co-performance of carbon emissions, this paper argues that one mode of achieving order of carbon emissions consists of practices by which the textual representations of carbon emissions are altered. For that, it investigates a variety of instances of everyday work of these agents (so-called corporate environmental managers) and explores how they are able to achieve ordering while and through relating to other actants. Based on an ethnographic study of corporate agents of ecological modernisation in the financial services sector over a period of 13 months this paper approaches this exploration at three levels to conceptualise how orderly carbon emissions emerge through practices: conditions under which these practices take place, the meanings attached by members and their political economy. The effects of this mode of ordering carbon can be read as a purification of the proxy-sign carbon which may stabilise agents' plans of representing carbon. At the same time, the analyses suggests that the ontology of corporate carbon emissions is far more hybrid than normally assumed. This finding might be drawn on to act as an incentive to reconsider whether and how closed groups as well as publics are well-advised in trusting the ubiquitous sign carbon.