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  1. Understandings of nature KGA172 Space, Place and Nature Written and presented by Associate Professor Elaine Stratford Semester 2

  2. Part 1 Looking back, looking forward

  3. Learning Objectives Module 2 Lecture 1 KGA172 Know and be able to (a) employ basic geographical terminology and concepts, (b) find, evaluate, analyse and reference appropriate literature, (c) contribute to debates about development and sustainability Comprehend and be able to explain spatial patterns, generate basic maps, field sketches and graphs, and communicate in written and graphical forms Apply key academic skills and (a) engage in critical thinking, discussion and listening, and in self-reflection and reflection upon the viewpoints of others and (b) research, plan and conduct fieldwork to collect data Analyse and interpret basic spatial, numerical and qualitative information Synthesize and integrate knowledge of social and Earth systems • be able to • understand that , as an abstract noun, the term ‘nature’ describes a constellation of meanings, and that these are contingent upon context – in other words, what we think of as nature varies over time and in different places • explain how three different ideas of nature might be applied to studies of society-nature relationships, these being • nature as the non-human world or environment • nature as the essence of things and • nature as an inherent force ordering humans and the more than human world • debate and appreciate others’ ideas of nature

  4. Textbook Reading Castree, N. (2005) Strange Natures, Nature, Routledge, pp 1-9. Harding, R. (1998) Value systems and paradigms, in Environmental decision-making: the role of scientists, engineers and the public, pp. 61-81. The Federation Press, Annandale. Critical reading What is the author’s purpose? What key questions or problems does the author raise? What information, data and evidence does the author present? What key concepts does the author use to organize this information, this evidence? What key conclusions is the author coming to? Are those conclusions justified? What are the author’s primary assumptions? What viewpoints is the author writing from? What are the implications of the author’s reasoning? [from Foundation for Critical Thinking] A man in a library

  5. Part 2 Ideas about nature

  6. Quantitative and qualitative research a list of comparative practices and tendencies notrules to separate Quantitative methods Qualitative methods Non-numerical Natural settings Social and interpretive methods Inductive approaches Idiographic • Numerical • Controlled and experimental settings • Scientific method • Deductive approaches • Nomothetic

  7. “‘nature’ is a human idea, with a long and complicated cultural history which has led different human beings to conceive of the natural world in very different ways”. William Cronon (1996) Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, p.20

  8. How do we access nature? Self in culture Our understandings of nature Pain, R., Barke, M., Fuller, D., Gough, J., MacFarlane, R. and Mowl, G. (2001) Introducing Social Geographies, Arnold, London, p.189.

  9. How do we comprehend nature? Castree, N. (2005) Nature, Routledge, London and New York, p.xviii

  10. Paradigm • A worldview shared by a knowledge producing community, e.g. the natural sciences. A paradigm is a conceptual framework that sets the group’s boundaries, guides the questions to be asked and the methods that should be used to answer those questions, e.g. the theory of evolution is a paradigm.

  11. Environmental Determinism • Assumes a one-way relationship between the environment and humans. • Environment is the sole determinant of the attitudes and capability of a given society. • Environment is the cause of human effect. Nature Society

  12. A mutually constitutive relationship • A two-way relationship • Cannot understand an environmental issue without understanding societal factors and how the two interact Nature Society

  13. The many natures in Western culture • Animist roots – a living universe • Christian roots – a gifted universe • Early-modern science – a clockwork/mechanistic universe • Early-modern romanticism – a picturesque universe • Modern development – a servile universe • Modern ecological science – an interdependent universe • Modern ecological politics – a precious universe • Sustainable development– a manageable universe? • Ethic of sustainability – a moral universe? Detail: Roman flooring, Vatican, September 2009

  14. Castree’s meanings of nature I the non-human world … AND YET

  15. Nature

  16. Castree’s meanings of nature II The essence of something

  17. Genome

  18. Castree’s meanings of nature III An inherent FORCE

  19. Gaia hypothesis Gaia: earth mother Ward, P. New Scientist, 20 June 2009, p. 28

  20. Medea hypothesis The murderous Medea Ward, P., New Scientist, 20 June 2009, p. 29

  21. Order