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Nature Wars: Essays Around a Contested Concept

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Volume 27

Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology

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Nature Wars

Essays Around a Contested Concept

Roy Ellen

308 pages, 29 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-897-9 $135.00/£100.00 Hb Published (November 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-898-6 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“An important topic from a much-appreciated scholar”. • Carole Crumley, Swedish Agricultural University and Uppsala University

“This is a timely and important contribution that brings together in a single volume a collection of essays that represents the thinking of one of environmental anthropology’s most consistent and influential voices across an entire range of issues”. • Miguel Alexiades, University of Kent


Organized around issues, debates and discussions concerning the various ways in which the concept of nature has been used, this book looks at how the term has been endlessly deconstructed and reclaimed, as reflected in anthropological, scientific, and similar writing over the last several decades. Made up of ten of Roy Ellen’s finest articles, this book looks back at his ideas about nature and includes a new introduction that contextualizes the arguments and takes them forward. Many of the chapters focus on research the author has conducted amongst the Nuaulu people of eastern Indonesia.

Roy Ellen is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Human Ecology at the University of Kent, where he initiated the programmes in environmental anthropology and ethnobotany, and founded the Centre for Biocultural Diversity.  His recent books include On the Edge of the Banda Zone (2003), Nuaulu Religious Practices (2012), and Kinship, Population and Social Reproduction in the 'New Indonesia' (2018).

Subject: Environmental Studies (General) Anthropology (General)


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List of Illustrations
Note on Orthography

Introduction: Nature Beyond the 'Ontological Turn'

Chapter 1. What Black Elk Left Unsaid
Chapter 2. Comparative Natures in Melanesia
Chapter 3. Political Contingency, Historical Ecology, and the Renegotiation of Nature

     Appendix: The Consequences of Deforestation - A Nuaulu Text from Rouhua Seram 1994

Chapter 4. Indigenous Environmental Knowledge and its Transformations
Chapter 5. From Ethno-science to Science
Chapter 6. Local and Scientific Understandings of Forest Diversity
Chapter 7. Why Aren't the Nuaulu Like the Matsigenka?
Chapter 8. Roots, Shoots and Leaves - The Art of Weeding
Chapter 9. Tools, Agency and the Category of ‘Living Things’
Chapter 10. Is There a Role for Ontologies in Understanding Plant Knowledge Systems?


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