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Burning cities: a posthumanist account of Australians and eucalypts


Franklin, AS, Burning cities: a posthumanist account of Australians and eucalypts, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 24, (4) pp. 555-576. ISSN 0263-7758 (2006) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1068/d0105


In this paper I want to ask whether there is anything to be gained by taking seriously a posthumanist analysis of the relationship between humanity and the natural world, one that in fact extinguishes the dualism and produces only ‘naturecultures’. I will examine this question through a new analysis of the relationship between gum trees and Australia. Most humanist accounts, such as those developed in ‘traditional’ social anthropology and sociology, privilege the activity, agency, and representations of humans, and in so doing render the natural world and its individual species as passive and of interest only insofar as they provide a palette of meanings for essentially human symbolism, dreamings, and imaginaries. Such an approach has an impeccable track record from Emile Durkheim to Mary Douglas and it is not one I want to challenge here per se. What I do want to challenge is the implicit assumption that this is all there is to, or all we can say about, the relationship between nature and humanity. Rather than (only) ask what nature (or gum trees in this case) means, I want to ask (also) what nature does, and, importantly, what implications those actions have for the world, nature, humans, and ‘the social’. I argue that this approach takes us considerably further towards a more mature sociology of nature in Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social theory
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Franklin, AS (Professor Adrian Franklin)
ID Code:40151
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:35
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2009-08-13
Downloads:5 View Download Statistics

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