How Culture Shapes Nature: Reflections on Ecomuseum Practices

in Nature and Culture
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This paper describes the main characteristics of ecomuseums as a prelude to analyzing the ways in which they interpret the relationship between nature and culture. It appears that ecomuseums have the capability to interpret this relationship as a dynamic process. However, ecomuseum practices are not simply dedicated to conserving aspects of heritage, but also provide a system of norms and values that contribute to shaping habitus and where “genius loci“ or sense of place can manifest itself. If society is to contribute to the preservation and valorization of nature, then frames of reference - such as the ecomuseum - can seek to inform and change attitudes and perceptions of the nature-culture dynamic. Consequently, people, communities, and democracy lie at the heart of ecomuseum philosophy, encouraging groups and individuals to work together to contribute to improving the environment. Social actions and the negotiation of forms of capital are essential to the process.