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Intimate Bureaucracies: Roadkill, Policy, and Fieldwork on the Shoulder


  • Alexandra Koelle


Over the last twenty years, wildlife biologists and transportation planners have worked with environmental groups and state and tribal governments to mitigate the effects of human transportation arteries on animal habitats and movements. This paper draws connections between this growing field of road ecology and feminist science studies in order to accomplish two things. First, it aims to highlight the often unacknowledged roots that the interdisciplinary field of animal studies has in feminist theory. Second, it seeks to contribute to conversations in the humanities and social sciences on roadkill and on wildlife biology by steering us into a world of practice that foregrounds mundane details. I approach this topic through interdisciplinary methods, including interviews with tribal and state wildlife biologists and participation in fieldwork on a western painted turtle tagging project. Although engaging in science and formulating policy are often understandably regarded by nonspecialists as practices that distance observers from their topic, in the world of roadkill prevention, I argue that the opposite is the case. What I call “intimate bureaucracies” are formed: arrangements of papers, policies, and people that bring a world of counting, and accountability, into being.