Lecturer to discuss the “Cultural Construction of Nature”

Guest lecturer at URI to speak on “The cultural construction of nature: environmental policy in a realm of contested purpose” KINGSTON, R.I. — October 22, 1999 — Daniel W. Bromley will speak about the cultural construction of nature and environmental policy in a realm of contested purpose at the University of Rhode Island. Bromley will speak Tuesday, Nov. 2 in the Cherry Auditorium of the Chester Kirk Building on URI’s Kingston campus at 3:30 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public. Bromley, an Anderson-Bascom professor of applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is one of a handful of extraordinarily well- known economists specializing in environmental and natural resource issues internationally. The talk will be interdisciplinary. Bromley will draw on the literature of how societies “construct nature” to serve particular purposes and illustrate that environmental policy is really a struggle over purpose, not over what is best, efficient, optimal, practical or even “scientific.” Science itself is viewed as a belief system that may fail to assuage various groups who see a different purpose. Bromley will draw examples from his work with the Chippewa, the Maori, and his work in South Africa. His work for the Wisconsin Chippewa Indians in their litigation against the state explored the issue of a cultural definition of “resource”. He has found that the entire history of Wisconsin state “management” of natural resources has been to maximize economic benefits from one particular cultural idea of nature – namely game fishing and deer hunting. The laws and logic behind deer herd management has been for the purpose of white man’s use (and tourism expenditures) to the detriment of subsistence exploitation by Native Americans. He has found this same theme played out in New Zealand and South Africa where the definition of “nature” is a colonial artifact. The presentation is sponsored by URI’s Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, the Honors Program and Visiting Scholars Committee, the Office of the President, the Coastal Resources Center and the Department of Natural Resource Sciences. -xxx- For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 874-2116