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Bioregionalism and Civil Society addresses the urgent need for sustainability in industrialized societies. Bioregionalism and Civil Society explores the bioregional movement in the US, Canada, and Mexico, examining its vision, values, strategies, and tools for building sustainable societies. Bioregionalism is a philosophy with values and practices that attempt to meld issues of social and economic justice and sustainability with cultural, ecological, and spiritual concerns. Further, bioregional efforts at democratic social and cultural change take place primarily in the sphere of civil society.
Practically, Carr argues for bioregionalism as a place-specific, community movement that can stand in diverse opposition to the homogenizing trends of corporate globalization. Theoretically, the author seeks lessons for civil society-based social theory and strategy. Conventional civil society theory from Europe proposes a dual strategy of developing strong horizontal communicative action among civic associations and networks as the basis for strategic vertical campaigns to democratize both state and market sectors. However, this theory offers no ecological or cultural critique of consumerism. By contrast, Carr integrates both social and natural ecologies in a civil society theory that incorporates lessons about consumption and cultural transformation from bioregional practice.
Carr's argument that bioregional values and community-building tools support a diverse, democratic, socially just civil society that respects and cares for the natural world makes a significant contribution to the field of green political science, social change theory, and environmental thought.
Introduction: Corporate Globalism, Civil Society, and Bioregionalism
1. Civil Society against Consumerism
2. Ecocentric Social Capital: The Ecology of Kinship
3. Bioregional Vision and Values
4. Bioregional Strategy and Tools for Community Building
5. Narrative Accounts of Reinhabitation in Rural and Urban Settings
6. Continental Movement: A Narrative Account of the Continental Bioregional Story
7. Conclusion: Civil Society Theory, Bioregionalism, and Global Order
Mike Carr has been active for decades in the social justice, peace, and ecology movements, in addition to bioregionalism. For the past several years he has taught geography, urban studies, and First Nation studies at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.
"The subject is very important. Industrialized societies [...] are desperately in need of theoretical and practical frameworks that are sustainable as alternatives to the unsustainability of globalization [...] [The book] makes a significant contribution to the field of 'green' political science and the literature of bioregionalism."
– Robert G. Macdonald, Environmental Studies, York University