The victorious battles of the lost war against aquatic invasive plants: "fluid" categorisation and multiple forms of ordinary commitment.
Focusing on invasive plant species management issues, we propose an empirically based contribution to one of the main challenges of contemporary geography theory, that of materiality. In keeping with the aim of analysing how practitioners on the ground engage with invasive aquatic plants in the littoral lakes of Aquitaine (south-west France), we endorse a relational approach to categorisation, one that specifically emphasises categorisation as a process embedding, and fashioning, materiality and material agency. Nevertheless, we advocate a still overlooked critical attention to the most vibrant trends in new materialist geography, namely, the risk of minimising the separation issue. The results of our ethnographic inquiry show that the process of categorisation recognises, on the one hand, the indeterminacy of plants' behaviour, mobility, and various other characteristics - i.e., a process pervaded with ideas of fluidity. Moreover, our results show that the process of categorisation comes with a large array of contextualised management objectives, imbued with the determination of people to keep some control over spreading phenomena - i.e., a process pervaded with ideas of creativity and responsibility. These results suggest that a reasonably sustained critical attention, firmly grounded in empirical analysis, can enable research to open up to novel opportunities for operational engagement with rapidly changing environments. We discuss how participatory territorial governance mechanisms should give way to ordinary modes of relating and separating, a condition for successful implementation of everyday contextualised struggles against invasive species, far from vitalist or eradication rhetoric.