This panel seeks to unpack the current dynamics of human-environment relations with the emphasis on cultural understandings of the environment under the ideology and practice of neoliberalism.
A great fault line separating Culture from Nature as one of the classic logocentric oppositions in Western thought anchored in the legacies of anthropology, has been discussed in a number of works in the last few decades. Though the ethnographic record of the relationships between nature and human societies resists the imposition of a nature/culture dualism and tends to see them as "reciprocally inscribed", the idea of an opposition thrives.
By looking back at one of the key issues in anthropology, this panel seeks to overcome the duality by showing how the elements are shaped differently in different "cultures". The aim is to unpack the current dynamics of human-environment relations under the ideology and practice of neoliberalism.
Since environment is viewed as intrinsically anthropocentric we invite ethnographically-embedded contributions that examine diverse problems of cultural-environmental relationship, with the emphasis on cultural understandings of environment vis-à-vis global forces. The influences of environment on human behaviour are never purely material or "natural" but are always in part cultural since they are mediated by the culturally determined ways in which they are perceived. There are three complementary conceptualizations of the environment: 1. as cultural landscape, 2. as the organization of space, time, meaning and communication, 3. as a system of settings within which systems of activities take place. Hence, the possible topics include the commodification of natural resources and changing livelihoods and consumption patterns; "intersections" between cultural and environmental concerns, including place/space, agency and ecocultural identity/difference; cultural displacement and deterritorialization.