Building on his own ethnography of a Finish river and on the work of other anthropologists, Krause suggests that deltas require an ‘amphibious anthropology’ and brushes out a framework through which to empirically observe this interplay of land, people and water. In particular, he highlights four interrelated dimensions – hydrosociality, volatility, wetness and rhythms – that can help “identify the specific challenges and opportunities of delta inhabitants around the world” (2017:408). His take on hydrosociality builds directly on the work of Swyngedouw aiming to expose the “hegemonic processes behind phenomena which otherwise appear as ‘natural’” and on Linton who argues that “water today is an abstraction derived from Western modernity” (2017:404). However, within the amphibious context of the interplay between the wet and the dry, between land and not-land, he suggests taking hydrosociality one-step further:


“[N]ot only to understand water circulation but also to reflexively think about social relations. Arguably, people living in large river deltas relate to one another, as well as to many outsiders, not only through kinship, friendship, or other forms of what have classically been considered ‘social’ connections, but also, and simultaneously, in hydrologic ways, quite literally through the water that flows – or does not flow – between them (cf. Krause and Strang 2016)” (2017:404).

‘Volatility’ is a concept which enables him to observe environmental changes characteristic of deltas and the “the continual creativity” through which “delta inhabitants deal with these transformations” (2017:405). The dimension of ‘rhythms’ on the other hand allows him to be attentive to “repetition with difference” (an expression he borrows from Lefebvre, 2004). Hydrosocial rhythms are not understood as mere “adaptations to the meteorological seasons”. Instead, they are analysed as emerging “from people perpetually attuning to the total social and ecological environment in which they live” (2017:407). He exemplifies this with Harris’ ethnography of the Amazon floodplain where “everyday activities, moods, health, and rituals vary between the dry and the wet periods of the year” (Krause, 2017:407). This attention to rhythms further enables him to highlight the possibility of hydrosocial rhythms clashing with one another. In his ethnography of a Finish river, he shows that the rivers’ discharge is tied into the fluctuations of Finish electricity consumption (via hydropower) as well as into multispecies interactions. He continues: “many conflicts along the Kemi River are not about different river uses per se, but about their clashing rhythms. (…) Wherever water flows, and is made to flow, in particular ways, the correspondences and frictions of hydrosocial rhythms constitute important aspects of everyday life, meaning-making, and relating” (2017:407).


Finally, the dimension of ‘wetness’ is “the shifting affordances of wet, dry, and in between environments” (405), where the wet and the dry are not binary but “poles of a spectrum of possibilities and oppositions that emerge in relation to particular human activities and projects” (406). A focus on wetness is necessary to pay attention to “the ways in which the wet and dry in their multifaceted manifestations correspond with particular social, economic, and political arrangements” (405).  Here, he shows how the wet and the dry are always entangled in ideology and politics, with for instance the draining of so-called wastelands described in the above section (406). Moreover, Krause suggests that what is wet and what is dry should not be assumed, but observed “practically, conceptually, and materially” through fieldwork in a specific area (406).


Alongside amphibious anthropology, the prism of intersectional ecologies suggests tools through which to observe the interplay of humans, land and water found in the PtSD. Vaughn, Guarasci and Moore suggest intersectional ecologies not so much as a clearly bounded theory or concept but rather as an “intervention into how we see, approach, and think environments” that would start by removing “the too-often unacknowledged borders and boundaries that delimit work on the environment” (2021:285). At the centre of this prism, is a commitment to approaching the environment as a “malleable and historically contingent concept” (277). Intersectional ecologies expand the scope and prisms of environmental anthropology by building on collective and diverse ways of knowing ecologies, environments and natures. By doing so, it draws pathways that are outside of environmental anthropology’s traditional commitment to deconstructing the nature/culture binary. In particular, three interrelated themes of inquiry are highlighted: materiality, knowledge of the environment and subjectivity.

 It may sound like gibberish, but it will make more sense if you speak with a few farmers and other actors in the dairy grasslands!