324 pages, no illustrations
Drawing on the observations of three years spent in the company of dedicated amateur mushroomers and professional mycologists, Gary Alan Fine explores the ways in which Americans attempt to give meaning to the natural world, while providing an eye-opening look inside the cultures they construct around its study and appreciation. A landmark work of environmental sociology, Morel Tales is an engaging and instructive examination of a thriving community, one with its own language, ceremonies, jokes, narratives, rivalries, and social codes.
Fine also provides a detailed discussion of the American phenomenon he calls "naturework" - that is, culturally constructing one's own place in the natural environment through communities with shared systems of assigned meaning. "Naturework", Fine observes, is something we all do on some level - not only birders, butterfly collectors, rock hounds, hunters, hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts, but all of us who construct community through narrative and nature through culture.
Reviews from earlier edition "In a way that has come to characterize his work, Fine ... gets serious without losing his sense of humor. As with the best of good sociology, we are quickly persuaded that by studying seemingly esoteric behavior, mushroom hunting, we can learn about basic social processes." -- Robert Bogdan, in Contemporary Sociology Many gushing reviews exist, see file
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