- How can anthropology improve our understanding of the interrelationship between nature and culture?- What can anthropology contribute to practical debates which depend on particular definitions of nature, such as that concerning sustainable development?Humankind has evolved over several million years by living in and utilizing 'nature' and by assimilating it into 'culture'. Indeed, the technological and cultural advancement of the species has been widely acknowledged to rest upon human domination and control of nature. Yet, by the 1960s, the idea of culture in confrontation with nature was being challenged by science, philosophy and the environmental movement. Anthropology is increasingly concerned with such issues as they become more urgent for humankind as a whole. This important book reviews the current state of the concepts of 'nature' we use, both as scientific devices and ideological constructs, and is organised around three themes:- nature as a cultural construction;- the cultural management of the environment; and- relations between plants, animals and humans.
Roy Ellen Professor of Anthropology and Human Ecology,University of Kent at Canterbury Katsuyoshi Fukui Professor of Anthropology, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan