21 December 2006

The Environmental Subject and Oppressive Culturization Practice

Traditional 13 destructive/unjust relationships (in chronological order) to the land:

1) abuser-victim; rage and a will to dominate taken out on an unsuspecting and largely trusting other; wanton destruction of trees and animals with no rationale; a psychotic gain from the pain of others;
2) explorer-adversary; the land made malevolent, perverse, dangerous by the brave and ultimately successful adventurer or tragic hero;
3) spectator-spectacle; a trip to the zoo, an aesthetically pleasing view, watercolour painting from a car; idealized photography;
4) scientist-specimen; a object of the scientific gaze, complete with named categories, an aura of mastery, and cultural bias/blinkers; Eurocentric classification (Linnaeus);
5) controller-controlled; via barriers, boundaries, deterrents, herbicides/pesticides, parks, reserves, population control, the introduction of invader species, etc.; symbolic hedge cutters;
6) user-used; economic opportunism, husbandry, the harvest, agricultural transformation and maintenance; land as avenue to wealth; single-species ecosystems artificially maintained; the road to the good life;
7) desirous-exotic; the mysterious land, wild, romantic, aestheticized, feminized, sexualized;
8) samaritan-pitiful; sympathy, feelings of moral superiority, appeased conscience, token gifts/no shifts in thinking;
9) narrator-stereotype; static images, misinformed myths, useful types/categories, cliché, repetitive scenes, the land as known, stock character;
10) denial-erasure; the city-dweller, the land erased from consciousness; the insulated life; the urban annihilation of natural beings;
11) ‘gone native’-salvation; the ‘wild man’, benevolent/idealized ‘Nature’, always ends badly;
12) politician-obfuscated space; deliberate misinformation, disorder, willful confusion, the evasion of the known for the sake of power;
13) academic-other; knowledge control, authority, identity construction around the mastery of the discourses that stand in for the land; related to 4); see “Environmental Studies” . . .


At 12:05 PM, Blogger Thielmann said...

A very good list... although one can argue many constructive/just relationships are embedded in the list (the "flip-sides"?), themes like healing, exploration of "horizons of significance" (Taylor), or intimacy with landscapes (topophila). To add to the list... #14 might have something to do with anachronism -- viewing the world only through memory and denying the embdiment of the present, or perhaps seeing landscapes as belonging to another time period (sentimentalized past or resource stored for future exploitation)

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Rob Budde said...

oh, yes, these are the negative/destructive relationships--there are many positive possibilities not seen here. and yes, i like your anachronism addition--very much like way we often fix other cultures in time; nature as a constant that is not moving/transforming over time.


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