In order to move global society towards a sustainable "ecotopia," solutions must be engaged in specific places and communities, and the authors here argue for re-orienting environmental anthropology from a problem-oriented towards a solutions-focused endeavor. Using case studies from around the world, the contributors-scholar-activists and activist-practitioners- examine the interrelationships between three prominent environmental social movements: bioregionalism, a worldview and political ecology that grounds environmental action and experience; permaculture, a design science for putting the bioregional vision into action; and ecovillages, the ever-dynamic settings for creating sustainable local cultures.
Environmental Anthropology studies historic and present human-environment interactions. This volume illustrates the ways in which today's environmental anthropologists are constructing new paradigms for understanding the multiplicity of players, pressures, and ecologies in every environment, and the value of cultural knowledge of landscapes. This Handbook provides a comprehensive survey of contemporary topics in environmental anthropology and thorough discussions on the current state and prospective future of the field in seven key sections. As the contributions to this Handbook demonstrate, the subfield of environmental anthropology is responding to cultural adaptations and responses to environmental changes in multiple and complex ways. As a discipline concerned primarily with human-environment interaction, environmental anthropologists recognize that we are now working within a pressure cooker of rapid environmental damage that is forcing behavioural and often cultural changes around the world. As we see in the breadth of topics presented in this volume, these environmental challenges have inspired renewed foci on traditional topics such as food procurement, ethnobiology, and spiritual ecology; and a broad new range of subjects, such as resilience, nonhuman rights, architectural anthropology, industrialism, and education. This volume enables scholars and students quick access to both established and trending environmental anthropological explorations into theory, methodology and practice.
Governance failure and corruption are increasingly identified as key causes of tropical deforestation. In Nigeria's Edo State, once the showcase of scientific forestry in West Africa, large-scale forest conversion and the virtual depletion of timber stocks are invariably attributed to recent failures in forest management, and are seen as yet another instance of how "things fall apart" in Nigeria. Through an in-depth historical and ethnographic study of forestry in Edo State, this book challenges this routine linking of political and ecological crisis narratives. It shows that the roots of many of today's problems lie in scientific forest management itself, rather than its recent abandonment, and moreover that many "illegal" local practices improve rather than reduce biodiversity and forest cover. The book therefore challenges preconceptions about contemporary Nigeria and highlights the need to reevaluate current understandings of what constitutes "good governance" in tropical forestry.
Re-examining Mary Douglas' work on pollution and concepts of purity, this volume explores modern expressions of these themes in urban areas, examining the intersections of material and cultural pollution. It presents ethnographic case studies from a range of cities affected by globalization processes such as neoliberal urban policies, privatization of urban space, continued migration and spatialized ethnic tension. What has changed since the appearance of Purity and Danger? How have anthropological views on pollution changed accordingly? This volume focuses on cultural meanings and values that are attached to conceptions of 'clean' and 'dirty', purity and impurity, healthy and unhealthy environments, and addresses the implications of pollution with regard to discrimination, class, urban poverty, social hierarchies and ethnic segregation in cities.
Contemporary public discourses about the ocean are routinely characterized by scientific and environmentalist narratives that imagine and idealize marine spaces in which humans are absent. In contrast, this collection explores the variety of ways in which people have long made themselves at home at sea, and continue to live intimately with it. In doing so, it brings together both ethnographic and archaeological research – much of it with an explicit Ingoldian approach – on a wide range of geographical areas and historical periods.