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Gregory Bateson’s Ecological Aesthetics - an addendum to Urban Political Ecology

Author: Jon Goodbun

  • Gregory Bateson’s Ecological Aesthetics - an addendum to Urban Political Ecology

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    Gregory Bateson’s Ecological Aesthetics - an addendum to Urban Political Ecology

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Abstract

In the last decade there has been a shift in our understanding and awareness of the scale and profundity of the global environmental crisis that industrial capitalism, combined with a certain cultural hubris regarding our ‘relation to nature’ (see below), has instantiated. Ecology, a term that emerged into popular consciousness in the 60’s as a byword for radical ‘holistic’ and ‘systemic’ thinking, has returned to prominence in recent years across all kinds of fields - once again as a way of signalling an attempt to engage with broader environmental questions. Within the natural sciences, ecology is above all characterised by a non-reductive holistic approach that focuses on the organisation and internal/external relational dynamics of ‘wholes’ or ‘assemblages’ (such as ecosystems). This is in contradistinction to the orthodox ideology of modern scientific practice, which is based upon a reductivist analysis of phenomenal wholes into ‘fundamental’ parts. Through the twentieth century ecology co-evolved with associated disciplines such as cybernetics and systems theory, and many important theorists - including for example Ludwig von Bertallanfy, Gregory Bateson and James Lovelock - migrated between these different areas, making contributions to all. Outside of the biological sciences, ecology has come to signify something closer to a paradigm rather than a specific discipline, as a culture and holistic science of systemic interconnection in general.

How to Cite:

Goodbun, J., (2011) “Gregory Bateson’s Ecological Aesthetics - an addendum to Urban Political Ecology”, field 4(1), 35–48.

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Published on
01 Jan 2011
Peer Reviewed