Exploring Aboriginal People's connection to country to strengthen human-nature theoretical perspectives
Kingsley, Jonathan Yotti, Townsend, Mardie and Henderson-Wilson, Claire 2013, Exploring Aboriginal People's connection to country to strengthen human-nature theoretical perspectives, in Advances in Medical Sociology, Volume 15, Ecological Health: Society, Ecology and Health, Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley, UK, pp.45-64.
Purpose Aboriginal people across Australia have diverse practices, beliefs and knowledges based on thousands of generations of managing and protecting their lands (Country). The intimate relationship Aboriginal people have with their Country is explored in this chapter because such knowledge is important for building insight into the relationship between social and ecological systems. Often in research Aboriginal views have been marginalised from discussions focused on their lands to the detriment of ecosystems and human health. This chapter aims to understand if such marginalisation is evident in Western human–nature relationship discourses.
Approach This chapter provides a critical literature review which examines whether Aboriginal people’s diverse understanding of their ecosystems have been incorporated into human–nature theories using the biophilia hypothesis as a starting point. Other concepts explored include solastalgia, topophilia and place.
Findings Critiques of these terminologies in the context of Aboriginal people’s connection to Country are limited but such incorporation is viewed in the chapter as a possible mechanism for better understanding human’s connection to nature. The review identified that Aboriginal people’s relationship to Country seems to be underrepresented in the human–nature theory literature.
Value This chapter emphasises that the integration of Aboriginal perspectives into research, ecological management and policy can provide better insight into the interrelationships between social and ecological systems.
Field of Research
111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 111712 Health Promotion 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
920205 Health Education and Promotion
HERDC Research category
B2 Book chapter in non-commercially published book
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