Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature

Article excerpt

Review: The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature By Scott Atran and Douglas Medin Reviewed by Elery Hamilton-Smith Charles Sturt University, Australia Atran, Scott and Medin, Douglas. The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008. 333 pp. ISBN 978-0-262-13489-7. RRP$38.00, hardback.

The realization that our perception of nature is shaped largely by cultural factors has been slow to develop amongst conservationists and public agencies concerned with land management. Although now well established in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, even many of the formal documents from that organization show that the realization is not fully understood, and not internalized as it might have been.

This book reports on a series of empirical studies of conceptualization about environmental phenomena, comparing different indigenous cultural communities in the United States and Central America. It also compares concepts as expressed across generations, and hence provides a picture of change from the very young to adulthood.

Findings certainly establish the need to understand culturally based ideas of nature in respect to a specific cultural context, namely, to not rely upon uninformed generalizations. That understanding may well reveal that attempts to educate through standard methods in science education may fail simply because the inherent understandings which children bring to education are overlooked or ignored. A cultural pattern of knowledge organisation may well be in conflict with the knowledge organization which prevails in the classroom. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.