Soc Review Intro - Introduction Bronislaw Szerszynski,...

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Unformatted text preview: Introduction Bronislaw Szerszynski, Wallace Heim and Claire Waterton Across a range of disciplines, a number of researchers and theorists have moved towards seeing nature and naturehuman relations in terms not of static struc- tures and rules but activity . Our purpose in editing this book has been to gather together examples of this performative turn in the study of environment and society. The contributors explore domains as diverse as allotments and bioin- vasion, green politics and policymaking in terms of performance, using the rich layers of meaning embedded in this term to expand the way we look at nature and the human relationship to it. Other collections and books have helped inform the aspirations of the present volume, helping to mark out a space of inquiry to which it is a further contribution. Notable among those has been Gillian Rose and Nigel Thrifts special issue of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space on Spaces of Performance (2000), which explored spatiality in terms of performance. Similarly, Phil Macnaghten and John Urrys collection Bodies of Nature (2001), and Adrian Franklins monograph Nature and Social Theory (2001) both look at nature in more embodied, cultural terms which are broadly consistent with the approaches taken in this book. But this is the first collection that specifically focuses on performance and nature, and one that we hope will be useful to a wide readership. Our aims in editing this book are not wholly academic and intellectual. Firstly, we would argue that the performative turn being described above is being driven not just by intellectual curiosity but also by an increasing sense that exist- ing ways of thinking about nature are inadequate to contemporary needs. There is a growing understanding of the dynamic quality of both nature and society, a dynamism that is not well served by the noun-dominated languages used for describing both. This mismatch is if anything getting sharper, as technological and social change introduce an even greater volatility to our relations with the natural world. Secondly, the following chapters are not just abstract theoretical explorations, but are rooted in various real-world contexts and problems, often explored through detailed ethnographic work. As such, they present to the reader some radically different ways of thinking about nature, ways that might prompt more reflective practice in both academic and non-academic domains. Thus, while the main intended readership of the collection consists of students, researchers and academics in the social sciences, the book should also interest The Editorial Board of the Sociological Review 2003. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA 2 and provoke a wider readership in other disciplines and in the real-world areas of environmental politics and policy. Towards the end of this introduction we consider some of the challenges posed by the work presented here for these and...
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This note was uploaded on 07/28/2008 for the course LCC 2600 taught by Professor Auslander during the Spring '08 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Soc Review Intro - Introduction Bronislaw Szerszynski,...

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