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Unity in Biodiversity? Reinventing nation and nature in Australia


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Davison, A 2010 , 'Unity in Biodiversity? Reinventing nation and nature in Australia' , Social Alternatives, vol. 29, no. 3 , pp. 7-12 .

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The idea of biodiversity is at once scientific and political, cultivating respect for the multiplicity and
inventiveness of life, and warning against disrespect. It is to the politics of biodiversity that this paper
is directed. The conception of this idea is described, followed by an account of its introduction into
questions of Australian nationhood. Attention is on what biodiversity reveals about modern societies
and what this reveals about the interplay of nature and culture that is remaking Earth. This is not to
ignore the devastation of non-human life by modern humanity nor to deny that this could be humanity’s
undoing. It is to recognise that the possibility of human respect for non-human life lies with culture as
much as with nature. I argue that the idea of biodiversity will not achieve the political goals set for it
unless it cultivates respect for the inventiveness of culture and for the myriad ways in which culture
and nature reinvent each other. I show something of this cultural richness in the context of claims
that a postcolonial, globalised Australian nation can be united through respect for native biodiversity.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Davison, A
Journal or Publication Title: Social Alternatives
ISSN: 0155-0306
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Copyright © 2010 Social Alternatives

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