The Vega Symposium

The Vega Day 2022

Date: Monday April 25, 2022, 14.00–17.45.

Venue: De Geer Lecture Hall, Geo-Science Building, Stockholm University (metro: Universitetet; bus stop: Universitetet norra)

The future of diversity: Biology, culture and bioculture

There is currently a growing concern with the ways in which globalisation leads to a reduction in diversity. Biodiversity is declining in many areas, and the standardising forces of states and markets lead to perceptible cultural loss. This effect is evident not least in the accelerated disappearance of languages in our century. Moreover, biocultural worlds comprising people living with their environments in sustainable ways are threatened by infrastructural developments, the marginalisation of indigenous groups and other standardising processes.

At the same time, many scholars have argued that the increased mobility and communication entailed by global modernity creates a plethora of new forms of diversity in the realm of culture. Some biologists similarly argue that introduced species may lead to ecological diversification rather than simplification.
For more than a century, anthropologists have warned about the obliteration of «traditional cultures» owing to the spread of modernity, while the concern with reduced biodiversity is more recent but no less urgent.

These questions deserve to be raised in a new way. By exploring parallels and similarities, but also differences between the two forms of homogenisation, which are largely due to the same causes, new theoretical perspectives may emerge. In addition, the very assumption of reduced diversity needs to be examined critically. Perhaps the widespread belief in global homogenisation – terms such as the Homogenocene and the Plantationocene have been suggested to supplement the Anthropocene – can be misleading. It is therefore important to retain an interest in new, emerging or formerly unmarked forms of diversity as well, in the spirit of the intellectual quest which has animated anthropology for generations, that is the study of the relationship between similarity and difference.


14.00 Opening of the Vega Symposium. Associate Professor Madeleine Bonow, President SSAG and Chair of the Symposium and Professor Bengt G Karlsson, Moderator.

14.10 Introduction. Professor Ulf Hannerz, Stockholm University.

14.20 Threats to diversity in the shadow of Anthropocene overheating. Professor Thomas Hylland Eriksen, University of Oslo, Norway.

15.00 The Homogenization of Diversity: Processes Selecting for BioculturalGeneralism in the Anthropocene. Professor Alf Hornborg, Lund University.

15.30 Coffee

16.00 Relating to the River: new bio-cultural diversities in human engagements with water. Professor Veronica Strang, Durham University, UK.

16.30 Conservation as Homogenization? Socio-ecological futures and collaborative relations. Professor Paige West, Columbia University, USA.

17.00 Discussion

17.30 Closing of the Symposium

Movie from the Vega Symposium 2022
Poster 2022 (pdf)

The Vega Day 2021

Movie from the Vega Symposium 2021
Poster 2021 (pdf)

The Vega Day 2020

The 2020 Vega Symposium was cancelled due to the developments regarding the coronavirus and Covid-19.

Poster 2020 (pdf)

The Vega Day 2019

Poster 2019 (pdf)
Movie from the Vega Symposium 2019
Pictures from the Vega Day 2019
Professor Emily Martin receives SSAG’s Medal in Gold from the patron of the Society, His Majesty the King of Sweden (Swedish Royal Court)

The Vega Day 2018

Invitation 2018 (pdf)
Poster 2018 (pdf)
Movie from the Vega Symposium 2018
Pictures from the Vega Day 2018

The Vega Day 2017

Invitation 2017 (pdf)
Poster 2017 (pdf)
Movie from the Vega Day 2017
Pictures from the Vega Day 2017
Chinese scientist Yao Tandong receives 2017 Vega Medal in Stockholm (Xinhuanet, Xinhua News Agency)
Chinese scientist Yao Tandong receives 2017 Vega Medal in Stockholm (China Global Television Network, CGTN)
Kungen delade ut Vegamedaljen (Swedish Royal Court)

The Vega Day 2016

Invitation (pdf)
Movie from the Vega Day 2016
Movie of when His Majesty the King hands out SSAG’s medal in gold 2016
Pictures from the Vega Day 2016

The Vega Day 2015

Movie from the Vega Day 2015
Pictures from the Vega Day 2015