Emergent Forms of Un/Natural Life

Michael M. J. Fischer

in Without Nature?

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230693
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237227 | DOI:
Emergent Forms of Un/Natural Life

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This chapter delves into the political and social spaces emerging from and conditioning human experiences of the natural and of the self. Our institutions come to manifest particular understandings of life and of being, but they never do so univocally, since all institutions develop from multiple interests, communities, and legal negotiations. It explores four different notions of nature in terms of such complicated discourses: the nature manifested in the distribution of natural resources or more dramatically in natural catastrophes; the nature that proceeds from technical and cultural productions; the nature rebuilt “inside out” by genetic research; and the nature that confronts us in the alterity of other sentient beings. Each of these instances allows the investigation of interrelated narratives by which we attempt to gain some purchase on our place in the world despite our incomplete knowledge of it. The plural identities of human nature, whether individual or social, emerge from this interplay of narratives.

Keywords: nature; natural catastrophes; genetic research; sentient beings; culture; self

Chapter.  16923 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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