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Questioning care cultivated through connecting with more-than-human communities

Pitt, Hannah 2017. Questioning care cultivated through connecting with more-than-human communities. Social and Cultural Geography 19 (2) , pp. 253-274. 10.1080/14649365.2016.1275753

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This paper challenges the proposition that connecting with nature through direct encounters with nonhumans promotes ethical regard for them. It probes the limits of more-than-human ethics founded on personal encounters which struggle to cross distance and difference. I consider how personal engagement influences ethical perspectives and attend to processes by which care for nonhumans is learnt. Empirical research in community gardens reveals diverse relationships with nonhumans and underlines the importance of attending to qualities of relating. I propose typologies for thinking through more-than-human relationships, organising them according to degree of care. The research finds limits to gardening’s potential to promote more care-full relations with others, with care limited by the prevalence of instrumental relationships with nonhumans. Learning to care for nonhumans requires a sense of connection to combine with disconnection gained through reflection, setting specific encounters within the context of more extensive relations and their power dynamics. More important than encounters teaching care for specific nonhuman dependents are those promoting understanding of the interdependent nature of more-than-human communities, and that stimulate reflection on the cumulative impact of a human tendency to forget this.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1464-9365
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 December 2016
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2016
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2020 19:26

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