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In the Nature of Things: Language, Politics, and the Environment

by Jane Bennett

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Much contemporary theoretical writing on the environment has focused on a number of approaches that rest on an appeal to nature as either superior to politics or something entirely susceptible to human control. "In the Nature of Things" offers an alternative conception of the environmental debate, one that questions the idea of nature as a grounding centre of political thought. Informed by recent developments in literary criticism and social theory, "In the Nature of Things" addresses the presumption that nature exists independent of culture and, in particular, of language. The theoretical approaches of the contributors represent both modernist and postmodernist positions, including feminist theory, critical theory, Marxism, science fiction, theology, and botany. They demonstrate how the concept of nature is invoked and constituted in a wide range of cultural projects from the Bible to science fiction movies, from hunting to green consumerism. The collection as a whole ultimately seeks to link the work of theorists concerned with nature and the environment to non-theorists who share similar concerns. Jane Bennett"s works include "Unthinking Faith and Enlightenment" and articles that explore the relationship between literary and theoretical portrayals of contemporary political issues. William Chaloupka teaches American politics and political theory at the University of Montana. He is the author of "Knowing Nukes: The Politics and Culture of the Atom" (Minnesota, 1992) and co-editor, with William Stearns, of "Jean Baudrillard: the Disappearance of Art and Politics".… (more)

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Much contemporary theoretical writing on the environment has focused on a number of approaches that rest on an appeal to nature as either superior to politics or something entirely susceptible to human control. "In the Nature of Things" offers an alternative conception of the environmental debate, one that questions the idea of nature as a grounding centre of political thought. Informed by recent developments in literary criticism and social theory, "In the Nature of Things" addresses the presumption that nature exists independent of culture and, in particular, of language. The theoretical approaches of the contributors represent both modernist and postmodernist positions, including feminist theory, critical theory, Marxism, science fiction, theology, and botany. They demonstrate how the concept of nature is invoked and constituted in a wide range of cultural projects from the Bible to science fiction movies, from hunting to green consumerism. The collection as a whole ultimately seeks to link the work of theorists concerned with nature and the environment to non-theorists who share similar concerns. Jane Bennett"s works include "Unthinking Faith and Enlightenment" and articles that explore the relationship between literary and theoretical portrayals of contemporary political issues. William Chaloupka teaches American politics and political theory at the University of Montana. He is the author of "Knowing Nukes: The Politics and Culture of the Atom" (Minnesota, 1992) and co-editor, with William Stearns, of "Jean Baudrillard: the Disappearance of Art and Politics".

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