Introduction: Fieldpaths towards an Eco-anthropology

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Arguably, anthropologists have studied the relationship of ‘culture’ and ‘nature’ for a long time and from a broad range of perspectives. The close thematic connections between anthropology and ecology reach back well beyond Ernst Haeckel’s postulate of ecology as a distinct science in the 1860s. Social historians (e.g. Brunner 1956) have noted how the ‘old European economy’
of ‘the whole house’, where ‘culture’ and ‘nature’ were regarded as closely intertwined, has been replaced in the course of industrialisation and modernisation by increasing perceptual separation and indeed juxtaposition of the two spheres. In a sense, the culmination of that movement may be seen, for example, in the progressive ousting of an integrative Heimatkunde – the holistic study of localities and regions – from the German school curriculum since the 1960s. At the same time, the rise of environmental concerns and pressure groups has led to a resurgence of interest in more integrative approaches (Daun and Löfgren 1971; Knötig 1972; Anderson 1973), and there
is by now a plethora of sub-, multi-, cross- and other disciplinary approaches, addressing aspects of this broad theme in one way or another.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAnthropological Journal of European Cultures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010


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