This book asks the questions can `Man' be separated from `Nature'? Is it valid to seek to `control' Nature? It argues that the firm modern boundaries between nature and culture have been breached and pulls together new strands of thinking about nature which suggest that humanity and nature have never been separate. The argument is developed through a critical discussion of the Romantic ideal of pure nature, unsullied by humanity and largely confined to fragile margins in need of protection and more recent discourses which identify nature with environment, and cast man in the role of a polluter and destroyer.
In previous chapters we have seen how anthropology and history have advanced our knowledge of the human-non-human relationship by investigating people's mental and physical integration with the natural world. In the West, we are prone to thinking we have lost many of these connections and that once gone they are lost ...