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Title:The rhetoric of ecological restoration: ethnography in the Cook County Forest Preserves
Author(s):Evans, Nicole M
Advisor(s):Miller, Craig A
Contributor(s):Stewart, William; Gottlieb, Alma; Kuo, Frances
Department / Program:Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Discipline:Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.S.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):Social construction of Nature
Cook County Forest Preserves
Natural Resource Management
Ethnographic Methods
Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management
Social Construction of Knowledge
Abstract:This research is an exploration of how people socially construct nature through the work of natural resource management. Using participant observation, interviews, and content analysis, I explored the experiences of staff and volunteers in the Cook County Forest Preserves to understand how they experienced and acted upon nature. In the first part, I look at how participants talked about naturalness and the contexts in which these definitions were invoked. My conclusions were that although ecological restoration requires massive human involvement in nature, it does not necessarily remove the nature-culture divide, and that naturalness is a political term applied to desirable pieces of material nature to serve desired ends. In the second part, I looked at knowledge production and the unique ways practitioners in the Cook County Forest Preserves engaged in both scientific and experiential forms of knowledge production. Practitioners used notions of science to gain validity while also disavowing the constraints of scientific methods when managing sites. I theorized that this was in part due to the incompatibility between science which seeks general principles and management which seeks site-specific solutions. I argue for a situated and reflexive natural resource management practice which makes use of both experiential and scientific modes of knowledge production in decision making.
Issue Date:2016-07-07
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/92751
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Nicole M Evans
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08


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