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  • Writer's pictureRitchard Allaway

05/05/21 - Cultural Ecology & Cultural Critique

Updated: May 28, 2021

The session at noon was a discussion as to what cultural ecology and cultural critique is. I won't be going into detail and sharing all my notes but I will be briefly addressing my understanding of this and how it fits within a context to the methodology.


'on the conceptual as well as methodological level, cultural ecology has steadily made an effort to combine both the ideas and the approaches of the natural and social sciences. In this way, cultural ecology seeks to explain the social sciences by the means of the natural sciences. It uses the environmental pressures as explanations for cultural change. It therefore recognises the ways in which different societies adapt differently not as a result of intelligence, but as a result of their climate.' http://anthrotheory.pbworks.com/w/page/29532593/Cultural%20Ecology


My understanding if I was to put it in simple terms - we take what is a natural occurrence within our cultural system and apply it as a method to develop new possibilities of knowledge. The framework/system is viewed, assessed and reapplied.


John Holden (2015.4) - 'An ecological approach concentrates on relationships and patterns within the overall system showing how careers develop, ideas transfer, money flows and product and content move... '


Within the context of my methodological approach to my research - the rhizomatic method, the following statement I believe initiates a visual clarity and a connection to the stem and root concept of the rhizome.


'Culture is an organism not a mechanism; it is much more messier and more dynamic than linear models allow.'


With this being said it could be suggested that the application of the philosophical concepts from Deleuze and Guattari indicate that cultural ecology can abide by discovering knowledge and research through non-hierarchical entry and exit points that have no source of origin. The critique within this could affect the concept by using the following chart below;


- Emergence

- Growth

- Complex Interdependencies

- Networks

- Evaluation

- Fragility

- Convergence


Emergence could suggest a source of origin and if we looked at this from an anthropological aspect, a starting point must have to be stated for cultures to then develop. From my perspective I would suggest that 'emergence' is not an origin as such but more (if we were to visualise this again through botanical structures) of a blooming of natural organisms - it is just there and it is to be discovered through the natural system without order.


To conclude this discussion was to understand our way of thinking and finding new knowledge through fixed systems that are questioned creatively. Breaking apart the entanglements within it, but negotiating a mutual/collaborative understanding in order to initiate new concepts of ecology exchange.




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