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Environmental Discourse

  • By: Anna Stanley
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Discourse is a powerful concept that geographers and others have used to appreciate how nature and the environment—things that are typically thought to be self-evident, presocial, and taken for granted as being outside of, or beyond, politics—are invested with meaning, power, and politics. Thinking of environmental objects (such as a forest, landscape, and nature) as discursive products (i.e., as things made and remade through material and conceptual social labor and connected to deeply situated knowledges and experiences) has greatly opened up geographical understandings of both the “environment” and environmental practice.

The study of the environment as discourse and of environmental discourses (discourses about the environment) has produced many critical insights into the social, political, and historical conditions and processes through which nature and the environment are ...

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