Characterising is the process of reading and interpreting the zoönomy of a zoöp. It involves interpreting the relative importance and interplay between ecological, political, economic and other relations for the wellbeing of the collective body of the zoöp. It can be compared to diagnosis in some medicine practises: it may identify illness and possible cures, but is also very much engaged with enhancing quality of life ("health") when no obvious sickness is identified.
Characterising takes into account different patterns of dynamism that are part of the zoöp: faster and slower events, seasonal rhythms, other recurring phenomena and longer-term developments in the internal and external relationships of the zoöp. Characterising looks at the relations between the relationships. How do social relationships influence legal relations? How do legal relations strengthen ecological relationships? In the case of the Venice Laguna, a highly dynamic balance is portrayed, involving historical and current insights into the careful and critical role that humans play in the maintenance of this balance.
Characterising involves anticipating and speculating about possible and probable scenarios. As such, it is very much the work of the humans involved, with the Zoönomic Foundation acting as the speculative and political organs of the non-human sections of the multispecies communities.
Characterising forms the basis for expressing the zoönomic ambitions of a zoöp. It should develop insights into the inner and outer working of the zoöp, and it should produce a knowledge basis for choosing the ways of Intervening that best enhance the zoönomic quality of the zoöp.
In the process of Characterising, different knowledge practices need to open up to one another and find shared ways of understanding zoönomic quality.