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Lecture 2

GG270 Lecture 2: GG270 LEC 2

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Margaret Walton- Roberts

GG270 LEC 2 Humans and Nature Greek and Christian thought Nature made for humans Scientific revolution and the Enlightenment C17th and C18th Empiricism, knowledge is dependent on experience objectivism or positivism Romanticism and sublime nature (1750s1850s) Darwinism 1859 Origin of species promoted Scientific naturalism over theology 2000s Humans produce nature (Anthropocene) some suggested his work informed cultural determinism Understanding humans and the natural world (Ch 2) Western thought interprets humans as different from animals and nature (duality) Other humans slotted into hierarchies: race, gender, class, nationality etc. Geology and evolution presented new ideas about the development of the natural world, which encouraged debate over human development. Ecology (Ch 4) Multidisciplinary study of the relationship between things in their environment, not about conservation. Issue of whole system and structure (holism) Humans incorporated with social Darwinism, human ecology, sociology 1920s 1930s Chicago school (ecological School) studied urban change and employed language of ecology; succession, segregation, competition. Cultural ecology Anthropologist Julian Stewart saw culture, not physical science, as key to understanding human relationships with nature, especially in terms of environmental adaptation while accounting for culture (similar to possibilism). He employed three procedures Technology and environment relations Behaviour affecting environment Relations between these patterns and other aspects of culture Stewart saw ecology as an approach to explain cultural features not to derive universal laws. Cultural materialism amendedexpended the concept Cultural materialism Raymond Williams saw possibility of scientific accounts of human behavior through observation by those external to social group (eticperspective of the observer, not the insider). Societies have an infrastructure (modes of production and reproduction). These structures probabilistically determine etic behavior and emic superstructure. He challenged base superstructure division of Marxism that had divided culture from economy along basesuperstructure framework. Superstructure is cultural forms, base is politicaleconomy.
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