344 pages, no illustrations
&i;How Nature Speaks&o; illustrates the convergence of complexity theory in the biophysical and social sciences and the implications of the sciences of complexity for environmental politics and practice. This collection of essays focuses on uncertainty, surprise, and positionality-situated rather than absolute knowledge-in studies of nature by people embedded within the very thing they purport to study from the outside. The contributors address the complicated relationship between scientists and nature as part of a broader reassessment of how we conceive of ourselves, knowledge, and the world that we both inhabit and shape.
Exploring ways of conceiving the complexity and multiplicity of humans' many interactive relationships with the environment, the contributors construct analog models through in-depth case studies of the interweaving of culture and nature in socio-historical processes. The case studies are supported by explorations of big-picture issues: recurring themes in studies of social and environmental dynamics, the difficulties of deliberative democracy, and the potential offered by developmental systems theory and Pierre Bourdieu's theory of intentionality for socio-ecological research.
What? Another book on ecology and how we are messing up the world? Is this book really necessary? This is not just another book on ecology. It is a book about how to think about ecology. Philosophical explorations, metaphorical musings, case histories of community action seen in the light of systems dynamics, and mathematical exposition of non-linear dynamics in clear intuitive terms all converge to help us see the richness of ecology as the paradigmatic science for understanding complexity. And yes, this book is necessary.--Richard Levins, Harvard University "How to make nature speak? Whoever thought that the gravity of the current ecological problems leaves us no chance but to try and manage nature as best as we can is well advised to read this book. This fine collection gives us profound insights into the complex ways in which nature and the social are interwoven. Nature is not out there; it is present in every category we use to try and understand our environment. A product of years of scholarship, this is a welcome contribution to the literature."--Maarten Hajer, University of Amsterdam
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