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A Choreography of Fire. A Posthumanist Account of Australians and Eucalypts


Franklin, A, A Choreography of Fire. A Posthumanist Account of Australians and Eucalypts, The Mangle in Practice. Sciences, Society and Becoming, Duke University Press, A Pickering and K Guzik (ed), Durham, pp. 17-45. ISBN 978-0-8223-4373-8 (2008) [Research Book Chapter]

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In this chapter I ask whether there is anything to be gained by taking serionsly a posthumanist analysis of the relarionship between humanity and the natural world, one that in fact extinguishes dualism and produces only naturecultures (Haraway 2003b, 5). I will examine this question through an analysis of the relationship between eucalyptus (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, imaginaries (see Rival 1998; Douglas 1975,1996). Such an approach has an impeccable track record ranging 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 approach is all there is to the relationship between nature and humanity, or all we can say about it. Rather than only inquire about the meaning of nature (or gum trees in this case), I also want to inquire about what it is they do, and, importantly, what implications those acrions have for the world, themselves, humans, and "the social."

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:social theory, nature, post humanism, Australia, eucalypts
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social theory
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Franklin, A (Professor Adrian Franklin)
ID Code:53970
Year Published:2008
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2009-02-03
Last Modified:2015-02-11
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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