Bioregionalism: Science or sensibility?

Environmental Ethics 12 (2):161-173 (1990)
Abstract
The current interest in bioregionalism, stimulated in part by Kirkpatrick Sale’s Dwellers in the Land, shows that people are looking for a form of political praxis which addresses the importance of region. In this paper, I argue that much of the bioregional literature written to date mystifies the concept of region, discounting the role of subjectivity and culture in shaping regional boundaries and veers toward asimplistic view of “nature knows best.” Bioregionalism can be rehabilitated, provided we treat it not as a “revealed wisdom” for the reconstruction of human society, but as a sensibility and environmental ethic that can infuse our work even as we make use of the functional regionalisms that increasingly shape people’s consciousness. I conclude by citing Lewis Mumford’s concept of a region as capturing the dialectical interplay of natural and cultural elements
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