Cognition and Cultural Modeling

Authored by: Kimberly Kirner

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Anthropology

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138782877
eBook ISBN: 9781315768946
Adobe ISBN: 9781317667964


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Intuitively, we know that for human beings, culture and the physical world are inseparably entwined. Every person is connected to the environment through cultural channels of economy, politics, and other dimensions of the social life. Fundamentally, humans adapt to their physical world through the medium of culture, and at the same time, their physical world is constructed by it. This cultural construction of the environment is both literal (through domestication, the built environment, and anthropogenic environmental change) and figurative (the mind, which is in constant relationship with culture, and shapes our very sensory perception). The significance of differences in various groups’ cultural constructions of the physical world has only recently widely infiltrated environmental management, conservation biology, and other fields that were historically less inclined to consider perspectives outside Western scientific epistemology.

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