The Environment in Anthropology: A Reader in Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Living

The Environment in Anthropology: A Reader in Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Living

The Environment in Anthropology: A Reader in Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Living

The Environment in Anthropology: A Reader in Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Living


This major new series reproduces an authoritative selection of the most significant articles in different areas of psychology. It focuses in particular on influential articles which are not found in other similar collections.

Many of these articles are only available in specialized journals and therfore are not accessible in every library. This landmark series will make a contribution to scholarship and teaching in psychology. It will imorove access to important areas of literature which are difficult to locate, even in the archives of many libraries throughout the world.

Important features in each book make the series an essential research and reference tool, including introductions written by the individual editors providing a lucid survey of difference branches of psychology. The pagination of the original articles has been deliberately retained to facilitate ease of reference. A comprehensive author and subject index guides the reader instantly to major and minor topics within the literature.


Today, environmental problems threaten not only natural ecological qualities but also humanity's very existence. This collection of readings demonstrates the importance of anthropological theory and practice for solving environmental problems. In making selections from a large body of excellent work, we searched for highly readable articles that touch on the breadth of environmental issues that anthropologists work on. Our search found that today's anthropology of the environment is changing rapidly. Anthropologists are deploying new research methods, new interdisciplinary collaborations, and new theories to make sense of environmental problems and people's responses to them. Given these innovations and the growing size of the literature, no reader can offer more than a sample. The readings we have chosen address what we see as the key environmental questions of the 21st century. These include population growth, economic development and underdevelopment, biodiversity loss, environmental management, the future of indigenous groups, and the link between consumption and globalization. In order to tackle these questions, we offer a mix of practical case studies, theoretical debate, and discussion of moral and ethical issues.

The first section presents an overview and background of today's anthropological approaches to the environment. Students will find that many of the ideas in this section reappear, sometimes in new guises, in later contributions. Discussions of theory continue in the following sections, each of which includes one chapter authored by a prominent theorist. The sections then include examples of academic and popular reporting of cases and issues, followed by a polemical piece offering a contrarian position, and a paper that gives an ethical reflection.

Investigative pieces offer broad descriptions of environmental problems, often using aggregate statistics. Case studies of current research and action focus attention on the specific ways people are working through, or failing to address, environmental problems. The polemical pieces present opposing information to challenge other contributions, to spark discussion, and provide critical perspective. Finally, ethical discussions demonstrate that all environmental issues rest on larger questions of social justice, humanity's place in the world, and fundamental ideas about what it means to be human. We hope students will use the ethical arguments to reflect on the moral underpinnings of their own approach to environmental issues.

In order to fit so much material into an affordable reader, we have abridged the original publications by as much as one-third. We sought to retain coherence in the authors' original argumentation and maintain a narrative flow. We encourage readers . . .

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