Book Reviews Nature and Society: Anthropological Perspectives Philippe Descola and Gísli Pálsson (eds) London: Routledge, 1996 ISBN 0-415-13216-9 (PB) £14.99. x + 310pp. The EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists) conference in Oslo in 1994 offered a surprising abundance of papers on themes related to nature and the environment. The resulting volume of short papers on ecological issues is a welcome contribution in an area that has received scant attention from anthropologists. Intent on highlighting differences between worldviews, and on providing subaltern perspectives, anthropologists have perhaps been hesitant to engage in a debate so steeped in scientific and managerial languages, for fear of imposing inappropriate epistemologies on Others. But the various approaches presented in Descola and Palsson's collection show that despite, or perhaps because of all this, anthropology can make a meaningful contribution to debate on human-environment relationships. The central questions of the book include, 'What can anthropologists or any other social group know about nature?', 'To what extent can meaningful comparisons be made about such arealm?', and, 'How could Other epistemologies be made useful in understanding the interface between nature and society?' The separation of nature from society is thus not so much under direct attack here,
Worldviews – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1997
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