Environmentalism and the Interpretation of Western Thought
By (author) John M. Meyer
Political Nature by John M. Meyer
Book DescriptionConcern over environmental problems is prompting us to reexamine established thinking about society and politics. The challenge is to find a way for the public's concern for the environment to become more integral to social, economic, and political decision making. Two interpretations have dominated Western portrayals of the nature-politics relationship, what John Meyer calls the dualist and the derivative. The dualist account holds that politics -- and human culture in general -- is completely separate from nature. The derivative account views Western political thought as derived from conceptions of nature, whether Aristotelian teleology, the clocklike mechanism of early modern science, or Darwinian selection. Meyer examines the nature-politics relationship in the writings of two of its most pivotal theorists, Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes, and of contemporary environmentalist thinkers. He concludes that we must overcome the limitations of both the dualist and the derivative interpretations if we are to understand the relationship between nature and politics. Human thought and action, says Meyer, should be considered neither superior nor subservient to the nonhuman natural world, but interdependent with it. In the final chapter, he shows how struggles over toxic waste dumps in poor neighborhoods, land use in the American West, and rainforest protection in the Amazon illustrate this relationship and point toward an environmental politics that recognizes the experience of place as central.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780262632249
(229mm x 152mm x 12mm)
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 3-Oct-2001
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author John M. Meyer
Greening of Everyday Life, Hardback (August 2016)
This interdisciplinary volume develops a distinctive new way of talking about environmental concerns in post-industrial society.
Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory, Hardback (January 2016)
This volume defines, illustrates, and challenges the field on environmental political theory. Through a broad range of approaches, it shows how scholars have used concepts, methods, and arguments from political theory and closely related disciplines to address contemporary environmental problems.
Environmental Politics of Sacrifice, Paperback (July 2010)» View all books by John M. Meyer
An argument that the idea of sacrifice, with all its political baggage, opens new paths to environmental sustainability.
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Author Biography - John M. Meyer
John M. Meyer is Professor in the Department of Politics and a Faculty Member in Environmental Studies and the Environment and Community Graduate Program at Humboldt State University. He is the author of Political Nature: Environmentalism and the Interpretation of Western Thought and the coeditor of The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice (both published by the MIT Press).
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