Contemporary ideas of nature were largely shaped by schools of thought from Western cultural history and philosophy until the present-day concerns with environmental change and biodiversity conservation. There are many different ways of conceptualising nature in epistemological terms, reflecting the tensions between the polarities of humans as masters or protectors of nature and as part of or outside of nature.
The book shows how nature is today the focus of numerous debates, calling for an approach which goes beyond the merely technical or scientific. It adopts a threefold – critical, historical and cross-disciplinary – approach in order to summarise the current state of knowledge. It includes contributions informed by the humanities (especially history, literature and philosophy) and social sciences, concerned with the production and circulation of knowledge about "nature" across disciplines and across national and cultural spaces. The volume also demonstrates the ongoing reconfiguration of subject disciplines, as seen in the recent emergence of new interdisciplinary approaches and the popularity of the prefix "eco-" (e.g. ecocriticism, ecospirituality, ecosophy and ecofeminism, as well as subdivisions of ecology, including urban ecology, industrial ecology and ecosystem services). Each chapter provides a concise overview of its topic which will serve as a helpful introduction to students and a source of easy reference.
This text is also valuable reading for researchers interested in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, geography, ecology, politics and all their respective environmentalist strands.
About the Author
Aurélie Choné is Associate Professor in German Cultural Studies at the Faculty of World Languages and Cultures, University of Strasbourg, France.
Isabelle Hajek is Associate Professor in Sociology at the Institute for Urbanism and Regional Development, University of Strasbourg, France.
Philippe Hamman is Professor of Sociology at the Institute for Urbanism and Regional Development, University of Strasbourg, France.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Rethinking the idea of nature
Aurélie Choné, Isabelle Hajek & Philippe Hamman
Part I – Values and actions
1 Environmental ethics
Dennis L. Merritt
Part II – Writings and representations
5 The aesthetics of nature
7 Epistemocritical perspectives on nature
Part III – Movements, activism and societies
8 From Lebensreform to political ecology
10 From environmental sociology to ecosociologies
11 From anthropogeography to ethnoecology
Part IV – Renewed ecologies
12 Rethinking rural nature in the era of ecocide
13 Urban ecology
Isabelle Hajek and Jean-Pierre Lévy
14 Nature, environment, health
15 Sustainable urbanism
16 Industrial ecology
17 The ecosystem services paradigm
Part V – Human–animal
18 Ecocide, ethnocide and civilizations
19 Animal studies
20 Constructing an animal history
21 Environmental humanities
Conclusion: How nature matters
Aurélie Choné, Isabelle Hajek and Philippe Hamman