Journal of Social Ontology https://journalofsocialontology.org/index.php/jso <p>The <em>Journal of Social Ontology</em> (JSO) is an interdisciplinary journal devoted to <strong>social ontology</strong> and <strong>collective intentionality</strong> that was founded in 2015 and is published as an open access journal. It is supported by <a href="https://isosonline.org/">International Social Ontology Society</a> and the University of Vienna.</p> <p>The Journal of Social Ontology publishes work in social ontology broadly understood. Social ontology is about the nature and (presumed) existence of social phenomena, such as cooperation, institutions, laws, social collectives, and social categories (e.g., gender and race). Work in other areas with a clear relevance to questions of social ontology, including empirical work, is also considered within the scope of the journal.</p> <p>The journal provides a forum for exchanges between scholars of diverse disciplinary and methodological backgrounds. In addition to major articles, JSO publishes shorter discussion articles and book reviews.</p> University of Vienna en-US Journal of Social Ontology 2196-9663 “Savage knowledge,” ethnosciences, and the colonial ways of producing reservoirs of indigenous epistemologies in the Amazon https://journalofsocialontology.org/index.php/jso/article/view/7693 <p>This paper explores the intricate relationship between the concept of “savage knowledge,” its significance during the ninteenth and twentieth centuries, and the emerging field of ethnoscience. It specifically focuses on the Amazon region as a pivotal area in the development of ethnoscience, examining the contributions of renowned naturalists Carl von Martius, Richard Spruce, and Richard Schultes, who each conducted scientific expeditions to the Amazon during this era. Their works are crucial in reevaluating the dynamic interplay between the Western perception of the “savage,” the scientific principles that underpin it, and the geopolitics of knowledge exchange between countries in the global north and south. I argue that the contextual conditions which made possible the emergence of ethnoscience, including imperial assimilation, extraction, and coloniality, continue to exert influence on twentieth century political discourses concerning the integration of indigenous cultures into global politics. This influence is evident through the analysis of a UNESCO document in the second part of the paper. The study concludes that the incorporation of indigenous knowledge, systematised by ethnoscience, has often served as a pretext for controlling geographical areas historically regarded as “natural resources,” ultimately transforming them into reservoirs of indigenous epistemologies.</p> Raphael Uchôa Copyright (c) 2024 Raphael Uchôa https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2024-05-07 2024-05-07 10 2 10.25365/jso-2024-7693 Cultural Ecology in the Court: Ontology, Harm, and Scientific Practice https://journalofsocialontology.org/index.php/jso/article/view/7688 <p>This article charts a path between those who champion the culture concept and those who think it dangerous. This path navigates between two positions: <em>realists</em> who adopt realist conceptions of both the culture concept and the category of cultural groups, and <em>fictionalists</em> who see such efforts as just creative and fictional extrapolation. Developing the fictionalist position, I suggest it overstates the case against realism: there is plenty of room for realist positions that produce well-grounded empirical studies of cultural groups. Nonetheless, I stress the importance of one element of the fictionalist critique: that the choice of ontology can lead to downstream harm. Developing an extended case study around the work of the anthropologist Julian Steward, I show how ontological decision making is an important element of contemporary scientific and policymaking work. I conclude by arguing that greater attention should be paid both to the processes by which ontologies are adopted and the potential consequences that may result.</p> Andrew Buskell Copyright (c) 2024 Andrew Buskell https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2024-05-07 2024-05-07 10 2 10.25365/jso-2024-7688 Southern Ontologies: Reorienting Agendas in Social Ontology https://journalofsocialontology.org/index.php/jso/article/view/7691 <div><span lang="EN-GB">This article addresses ontological negotiations in the Global South through three case studies of community-based research in Brazil and Ghana. We argue that ontological perspectives of Indigenous people and local communities require an ontological pluralism that recognizes both the plurality of representational tools and of ways of being in the world. Locating these two readings of ontological pluralism in the politics of the Global South, the article highlights a wider dynamic from ontological paternalism to ontological diversity to ontological decolonization. We conclude by arguing that this dynamic provides important lessons for the state for social ontology in academic philosophy and for the design of politically reflexive development interventions.</span></div> David Ludwig Daniel Faabelangne Banuoku Birgit Boogaard Charbel N El-Hani Bernard Yangmaadome Guri Matthias Kramm Vitor Renck Adriana Ressiore C. Jairo Robles-Piñeros Julia J. Turska Copyright (c) 2024 David Ludwig, Daniel Faabelangne Banuoku, Birgit Boogaard, Charbel N El-Hani, Bernard Yangmaadome Guri, Matthias Kramm, Vitor Renck, Adriana Ressiore C., Jairo Robles-Piñeros, Julia J. Turska https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2024-05-07 2024-05-07 10 2 10.25365/jso-2024-7691 Human-managed soils and soil-managed humans: An interactive account of perspectival realism for soil management https://journalofsocialontology.org/index.php/jso/article/view/7690 <p style="font-weight: 400;">What is philosophically interesting about how soil is managed and categorized? This paper begins by investigating how different soil ontologies develop and change as they are used within different social communities. Analyzing empirical evidence from soil science, ethnopedology, sociology, and agricultural extension reveals that efforts to categorize soil are not limited to current scientific soil classifications but also include those based in social ontologies of soil. I examine three of these soil social ontologies: (1) local and Indigenous classifications farmers and farming communities use to conceptualize their relationships with soil in their fields; (2) categorizations ascribed to farmers in virtue of their agricultural goals and economic priorities relied upon in sociological research; and (3) federal agency classifications of land capability employed by agricultural scientists. Studying the interplay of these social ontologies shows how assessing soil properties and capabilities are the result of previous agricultural strategies informed by culture, agroecological history, weather, soil biodiversity, crop rotation, and the goals held by decision-makers. The paper then identifies the soil relationships and interactions that constitute ontology-making activities. Building on recent work, I outline a novel interactive account of perspectival realism grounded in agricultural extension research and ethnopedological data that captures the haptic nature of farmers’ soil strategies. This interactive account explains how ontologies are chosen, why they are chosen, and how they interact and inform soil management decision-making. The paper concludes by examining the values laden in these ontologies and those which are causally implicated in the choice of soil management strategies.</p> Catherine Kendig Copyright (c) 2024 Catherine Kendig https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2024-05-07 2024-05-07 10 2 10.25365/jso-2024-7690 Ontologies of Eco Kin: Indigenous World Sense/ing https://journalofsocialontology.org/index.php/jso/article/view/7692 <p style="font-weight: 400;">In our global neocolonial and neoliberal present, so-called solutions to settler-Indigenous conflict are often framed as a reconciliation achieved through a multicultural democratic society. However, this conception of resolution frequently adopts a superficial understanding of culture that ultimately understands cultural difference as reconcilable in the sense that other cultures can be folded into or made compatible with dominant cultural norms. On Turtle Island (North America), especially within the settler colonial context, such reconciliation as resolution becomes a differently fashioned form of domination as assimilation especially from the vantage points of Indigenous nations and Afro-descended peoples. This essay explores the ontological incommensurabilities of cultural difference that resist assimilation or translation into dominant Euro-Western cultural frameworks. It does this through examining the way culture and ontological orientation, or world-senses, are made and live on through various modes of cultural preservation and practice. I examine these ideas through Indigenous practices of orality, origin stories, ceremony, and cultural revitalization.</p> Esme Murdock Copyright (c) 2024 Esme Murdock https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2024-05-07 2024-05-07 10 2 10.25365/jso-2024-7692