Nature and Social Theory by Adrian Franklin

By Adrian Franklin

This booklet asks the questions can `Man' be separated from `Nature'? Is it legitimate to hunt to `control' Nature? It argues that the enterprise smooth barriers among nature and tradition were breached and pulls jointly new strands of pondering nature which recommend that humanity and nature have by no means been separate. The argument is built via a severe dialogue of the Romantic perfect of natural nature, unsullied via humanity and principally restrained to fragile margins short of security and newer discourses which determine nature with setting, and forged guy within the position of a polluter and destroyer.

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This tension forms one of two strands that were to surface in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the Romantic Movement. The other strand was the observed and sensed consequence of a scientific and rational exploitation of nature in terms of escalating environmental damage, looming slag heaps, pollution of air and water and so on. Third, the gradual popularisation of pet keeping by the urban elites under conditions of enthusiasm and aesthetic zeal rather than sanctimonious condemnation permitted humans perhaps a unique sight of animals as intelligent beings with qualities comparable to humans.

The sentiments expressed fix themselves upon it, for it is the only concrete object upon which they can fix themselves. It continues to bring them to mind and to evoke them even after the assembly has dissolved, for it survives the assembly, being carved upon the sides of rocks, upon bucklers etc. Everything happens as if they inspired them directly. . So it is from it [the totem] that those mysterious forces seem to emanate with which men feel that they are related, and thus they have been led to represent these forces under the form of the animate or inanimate being whose name the clan bears.

Even where accounts are given of others, they remain the testimony and interpretation of the more privileged and powerful groups. Indeed, this book will claim that, in parallel with the establishment of a stable and agreed understanding of nature and the natural world, there coexisted other understandings and practices, some based on spatial differences (parochial outliers, metropolitan cultural variety/diversity), others on folk traditions, historical continuities and so forth. It is precisely those sorts of groups not well represented in the sources for William’s keywords which are also silent in much of the recent literature on nature and environment and it will be one of the aims of this book to redress this imbalance.

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