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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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INTRODUCTION
Year : 2005  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 501-508

Epilogue: Towards a Politics of Dwelling


Department of Anthropology, School of Social Science, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3QY, Scotland, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Tim Ingold
Department of Anthropology, School of Social Science, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3QY, Scotland
United Kingdom
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Assertions about the existence and constitution of 'nature' are not statements of fact but claims to original human potentialities, lying on the 'far side' of society. The concept of nature is thus inherently political. In reality, human beings do not dwell on the other side of a boundary between society and nature but in the same world that is inhabited by creatures of all kinds, human and non-human. Can a 'dwelling perspective', then, be combined with the recognition that human lives are lived collectively within fields of power? Is human History necessarily distinguished from the history of non-humans on the grounds that only the former involves the reproduction of power relations in the production of Society? The paper argues that there are not two kinds of history but one, comprised by the interplay of diverse human and non-human agents in their mutual relations. The infliction of pain and suffering is not limited to relations among humans. Like other creatures, humans adopt various means to protect themselves. In so doing, they create places. Ultimately, how­ever, the protection of place and the protection of nature are incompatible. The politics of dwelling lie in this incompatibility and the struggles it entails.


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