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Social Construction of Nature

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

There is a long tradition within geography in which study of the human relationship with nature is central. What nature is considered to be would thus seem to be of crucial importance to this tradition. Yet until very recently, the nature of nature has not been considered much. Nature is usually assumed, absorbed as taught, unquestioned, and generally commonsensed to be something independent of the human world. According to this view, the human world affects nature, but the two realms remain distinct.

The notion of the social construction of nature resulted from the attempt made by many scientists to reconsider this common understanding of nature in relation to humans. To do this requires questioning all received wisdom with regard to both sides of the nature-society relationship, ...

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