Demonstrating that all notions of nature are inextricably entangled in different forms of social life, the text elaborates the many ways in which the apparently natural world has been produced from within particular social practices. These are analyzed in terms of different senses, different times and the production of distinct spaces, including the local, the national and the global. The authors emphasize the importance of cultural understandings of the physical world, highlighting the ways in which these have been routinely misunderstood by academic and policy discourses. They show that popular conceptions of, and attitudes to, nature are often contradictory and that there are no simple ways of prevailing upon people to `

Inventing Nature

Inventing nature

In the previous chapter we argued against the doctrine of environmental realism, in particular claiming that the ‘environment’ does not simply exist out there but had to be in a sense ‘invented’. There is no simple linear process which would inevitably culminate in contemporary environmentalism. In this chapter we examine this complex and uneven invention of the ‘environment’, of how nature became the ‘environment’. We detail the main events which have discursively constituted the contemporary environmental agenda. We consider this new agenda and analyse how this has been driven, not only by the emergent findings of science and by various processes in which the healthy body appears to be invaded by environmental bads, but by wider cultural and political developments. We examine ...

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