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Scale Matters

Relating Wetland Loss and Commercial Fishing Activity in Louisiana across Spatial Scales

Amy Freitag, Suzana Blake, Patricia M. Clay, Alan C. Haynie, Chris Kelble, Michael Jepson, Stephen Kasperski, Kirsten M. Leong, Jamal H. Moss, and Seann D. Regan


Interdisciplinary science and environmental management involve bringing together data and expertise at multiple spatial scales. The most challenging part of merging scales is aligning the scale of inquiry with the research application. Through the Louisiana case study relating wetland loss and commercial fishing, we examine how the nature and strength of the relationship changes depending on the scale of investigation. Resulting management implications also vary because of tradeoffs in choosing the scale of inquiry. State-level fisheries managers may miss effects of wetland loss in fishing communities because they are looking at aggregate data. Scientific information must directly address the constituent scale, where managers can enact policy. The case study demonstrates why scalar considerations should be an explicit part of the planning process for both science and management.

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Tuna Tales

Narratives that Persuade as They Explain International Fisheries Management

D. G. Webster

Steven Adolf. 2019. Tuna Wars: Powers Around the Fish We Love to Conserve. New York: Springer.

Jennifer E. Telesca. 2020. Red Gold: The Managed Extinction of the Giant Bluefin Tuna. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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Building Walls, Destroying Borderlands

Repertoires of Militarization on the United States–Mexico Border

Jennifer G. Correa and Joseph M. Simpson


Checkpoints, barriers, surveillance technologies, and military-police enforcement constitute the current stage of militarization on the United States–Mexico border. Previous literature in environmental sociology and United States–Mexico border studies overlooks how militarization ravages communities through its environmental disruptions. Our aim is to identify what we describe as repertoires of militarization used by the state to facilitate militarized buildup and exacerbate environmental degradation in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV). We use ethnographic methods, document analysis, and participant observation to reveal three interrelated repertoires that threaten the environment and the peoples who inhabit it—a violation of international treaties, a waiving of environmental laws, and expansionary law enforcement powers.

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Certification Regimes in the Global Agro-Food System and the Transformation of the Nature-Society Relationship

Ecological Modernization or Modernization of Ecology?

Md Saidul Islam


Recent years have witnessed a proliferation of environmental certification regimes in the global agro-food system—a trend characterized as an example of the ecological modernization approach—which emerged largely because of the rise of consumer sovereignty and the neoliberal push for environmental and social “quality” in food production and processing. Based on a robust analysis of global aquaculture, the article argues that the environmental certification regimes privilege some actors, species, and cultures while marginalizing others. While the fundamental tenet of the ecological modernization approach is to shape capitalism by ecological principles, I argue instead that through environmental certification, ecology or nature itself is largely shaped, transformed and restructured to fit into and thereby serve neoliberal global governance and accumulation in a normalized manner. The example of certification regimes is therefore more like a “modernization of ecology” rather than ecological modernization.

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The Story of Homo Resiliens in Film Documentaries on the Anthropocene

Florentine Schoog


This article examines a selection of documentary films on the “Anthropocene” to carve out their common plot structure against the backdrop of prominent Anthropocene narratives. I subsequently trace Anthropos—the typification of a collective subject of humankind—and its story: the principal success story of the past that views humankind's glory in gaining dominance over nature is followed by a moment of shock revealing a potential collapse of the world as we know it. The story comes nevertheless to a happy ending by emphasizing the ingenuity of humans in a paradigmatic logic of resilience. I propose to call this figure Homo resiliens as it represents the anthropologized human capability of surviving. I argue that this figure conceals global inequality and social hegemonies in totalizing humankind as one collective resilient subject.

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The Value of Ecocriticism?

Kaitlin Mondello

Timothy Clark. 2019. The Value of Ecocriticism. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Eduardo V. Oyarzun, Rebeca G. Valverde, Noelia M. García, María C. Jiménez, and Rebeca C. Sánchez, eds. 2020. Avenging Nature: The Role of Nature in Modern and Contemporary Art and Literature. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

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What Determines Individual Demand for Ecosystem Services?

Insights from a Social Science Study of Three German Regions

Sophie Peter


Human demand for natural resources tends to be unsustainable. However, within ecosystem services (ES) literature, a rather rationalist view of ES demand dominates. This article broadens this perspective by looking at the demand from the angle of sociological risk theory. Theoretically driven interviews were conducted in three German regions and interpreted in light of risk theory. The empirical results indicate that demand can be explained by multiple aspects: (1) living and working environments, nature perception; (2) individual perceptions of environmental risk; and (3) societal socio-cultural influences. These results can be built upon in future ES research to improve our understanding of the social drivers of demand, which may inform the cultural landscape's governance and communication strategies that encourage sustainable ES demand.

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Dumpster Diving for a Better World

Explaining Unconventional Protest and Public Support for Actions against Food Waste

Benedikt Jahnke and Ulf Liebe


Food waste is a major challenge in affluent societies around the globe. Based on theories of protest and a mixed methods design combining qualitative, experimental, and survey research, we study the motives for, frequency of, and public support for dumpster diving in Germany. We find that dumpster diving as an unconventional daily protest action is related to more general protest against capitalist societies. It is motivated by both altruistic and egoistic concerns. The perceived legitimacy of violence and self-identity explain the frequency of dumpster diving. A factorial survey experiment with activists and the general public reveals strong similarities between the views of activists and those of other citizens in strong support of dumpster diving. This study demonstrates the usefulness of combining different empirical methods to study food activism.

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Not Lost but Found

Rebuilding Relations and Reclaiming Indigenous Food Systems

Keitlyn Alcantara

Gideon Mailer and Nicola Hale. 2019. Decolonizing the Diet: Nutrition, Immunity, and the Warning from Early America. New York: Anthem Press.

Gina Rae La Cerva. 2020. Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food. Berkeley, CA: Greystone Books.

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Scientist Warning on Why you Should Consume Less; Even if Wider Society Doesn’t

Peter M. Haswell


Overconsumption presents a major obstacle to social and environmental sustainability. Systemic social, legal, and economic strategies are absolutely necessary, but individuals are still accountable for their lifestyle choices and associated environmental footprints. Anti-consumption (rejection, reduction, reclamation) has its limitations, but could contribute to pro-environmental change, helping resolve biodiversity and climate crises. Regardless of societal consumption patterns, individuals can still make great gains in well-being and personal development by upholding their environmental and social values, minimizing personal resource consumption. Challenging the cultural norms of overconsumption requires individuals to employ mental fortitude in attempts to act justly toward the entire community of life. As a species, given our rational capabilities and ability to meet our basic needs, we are highly capable of bettering ourselves and our environment.