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Ecological Imaginaries

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

Ecological imaginaries are ways of conceiving nature with attendant but often unacknowledged social and cultural implications. These visions typically foreground purportedly neutral ideologies of nature while displacing often contentious political, social, and economic relations. Geographers seek to identify how seemingly durable conceptions of nature such as “rain forests” or relationships to nature such as “sustainability” attain their taken-for-granted status, that is, how they come to be accepted uncritically among large sections of the public. Articulated through material, social, and discursive practices, dominant ecological imaginaries reinforce ideologies of nature and society and naturalize particular conceptions of space, place, and landscape so that they appear inevitable, impartial, or cyclical. In short, they often function to make human relations with ecosystems appear to lie outside the capacity of ...

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