Far from being inert materials activated by human ingenuity, natural resources come to be made and unmade through ongoing processes of translation, through which they acquire new potentialities and meanings. In this introduction, we review the key concept of translation for anthropology and explore some of its multiple analytical possibilities in the context of human-environment relations. Based on insights offered by the articles in this collection, we propose a twofold definition of environments as both translating subjects and objects of translation. In grounding our analytical definition, we focus on the enactment of material transformations (as the result of both relations of mutual determination with humans and processes of objectification of the environment), the implications of incommensurability and erasure in processes of (attempted) translation, and the indeterminacy that accompanies (re)configurations of materials, relations and values.
- natural resources