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Imagination and Environmental Political Thought: The Aftermath of Thoreau - Politics, Literature, & Film (Hardback)
  • Imagination and Environmental Political Thought: The Aftermath of Thoreau - Politics, Literature, & Film (Hardback)
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Imagination and Environmental Political Thought: The Aftermath of Thoreau - Politics, Literature, & Film (Hardback)

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£60.00
Hardback 200 Pages / Published: 16/03/2018
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Imagination and Environmental Political Thought: The Aftermath of Thoreau seeks to correct oversimplified readings of Henry David Thoreau's political thought by elucidating a key tension within his imagination. With the celebration of Thoreau's two-hundredth birthday now past, this study outlines, and builds on, his own understanding of imagination and considers its implications for environmental politics. Despite the use of the word, "aftermath," Thoreau's legacy for environmental political thought is primarily constructive and foundational for modern environmentalism. Thoreau's virtues and vices have been inherited by his environmentally-conscious readers. The author of Walden's preference for an abstract, ahistorical "higher law," his radical concept of autonomy, and his frustration with government and community foster an impractical political thought characteristic of an idyllic imagination. Nevertheless, Thoreau demonstrates a more prudential and moral imagination by emphasizing the inescapable relationship between the moral order of individuals and the order of political communities and by pioneering the central questions of humanity's relationship to non-human nature. Can this tension of imaginations be resolved? What are the consequences of this tension? Thoreau's overall vision ultimately creates significant problems with which environmentalists still struggle. While Thoreau's emphasis on freedom and the immaterial aspects of human and non-human nature are of considerable value, his abstract political morality, misanthropy and escapism must be resisted both for the sake of environmental well-being and human dignity. In addition, this book is an exercise in re-thinking how the humanities may provide scholars critical insights to better diagnose and respond to the environmental challenges of our time.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498559027
Number of pages: 200
Weight: 481 g
Dimensions: 236 x 161 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Few movements of recent decades have had a more pervasive influence in Western society than environmentalism, but until this penetrating, far-reaching and original study scholars and others have had great difficulty sorting out what is what within this large and complex movement and assessing its strengths and weaknesses. Bowman has the philosophical and historical wherewithal to identify particular strains of environmentalism, including their deeper assumptions, and to provide criteria for critically evaluating them. Some of these strains are shown to diverge sharply. Bowman's thoughtful, incisive way of connecting them to views of human nature and society is indispensable to any serious study of environmentalism, but is relevant also to the study of other prominent social and political movements -- Claes Ryn, The Catholic University of America
As a political theorist who also teaches environmental politics, I found this to be an exciting and much-welcome new work. A fresh look at Thoreau and a valuable contribution to the scholarship of environmentalism, Dr. Bowman's book offers important keys to understanding the linkage between imagination and public policy. -- William F. Byrne, St. John's University
In focusing on the imagination, the faculty that plays a vital if insufficiently understood role in shaping knowledge and action, Bowman provides an original and compelling contribution to scholarship on politics and the environment. Among other things, his theoretical approach sheds light upon ways of thinking about human beings and the natural world that move beyond stale ideological dichotomies and policy proposals. This book should be given serious attention by scholars, and it would be an excellent text to include in political theory and environmental studies courses. -- Justin D. Garrison, Roanoke College

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