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Environmental Imaginaries

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

The term environmental imaginaries is used to explain how the natural environment shapes the attitudes, discourses, and practices of the people who dwell there. Derived from the broader concept of a spatial imaginary by Richard Peet and Michael Watts, an environmental imaginary describes how people draw on the familiar elements of their surroundings to understand natural and social processes and to inspire creative ways of shaping those same processes. It has a strong regional component because of how the natural environment differs from region to region, and it is also closely tied to political ecology with its focus on economic and political institutions.

The environmental imaginary concept has a lineage that can be traced back to spatial and social imaginaries. Developed within sociology, a social ...

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