How Many "Ends" of Nature: Making Sociological and Phenomenological Sense of the End of Nature

in Nature and Culture
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Despite significant increases in social scientific studies of the environment, there has recently been a narrowing of focus. Increasingly, sociologists have looked at claims and counterclaims about specific environmental problems while missing the broader question of the cultural and social character of environmental concern itself. Only social anthropologists and some social theorists have continued to investigate this issue. In this paper it is argued that McKibben's work offers a useful starting point for examining the meaning of environmental worries since his writings offer a form of "phenomenology" of our concerns for nature. In this paper, this "phenomenology" is subject to a critical review and assessment.