The Role of Spirituality in Re-presenting the Human-Nature Relationship

[Speaker] Carman, Petra:1
1:Sapienza University of Rome (Slovenia)

Research into environmental behaviour has yielded interesting conclusions about the emerging spiritual interpretation of nature and our relationship with it.

Using the framework of Social Representations Theory informed by French political ecology, the contribution will be looking at ecovillages, sustainable communities, as special contexts where the human-nature relationship is being re-presented, and the role spirituality plays in this emerging dynamic.

Results of an exploratory ethnographic study of two ecovillages (Braziers Park in UK, and Damanhur in Italy) show that while spirituality does indeed play a role in challenging - and thus re-presenting - the currently hegemonic view of our relationship with nature, the two communities seem to utilize it in different ways. While Braziers sees it only as an emotional dimension of this relationship, Damanhur has decided to use it as a norm guiding other community activities.
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