Publication Details

This article was originally published as: Head, L, Trigger, D & Mulcock, J, Culture as concept and influence in environmental research and management, Conservation and Society, 2005, 3(2), 251–264. Copyright: Head et al.


Given that human activities have been implicated in the vast majority of contemporary environmental problems, it might be expected that research effort into those activities and the attitudes from which they stem would be both strongly supported by funding agencies, and of central interest to environmental scientists and land managers. In this paper we focus on an undervalued area of environmental humanities research—cultural analysis of the beliefs, practices and often unarticulated assumptions which underlie human–environmental relations. In discussing how cultural processes are central to environmental attitudes and behaviours, and how qualitative research methods can be used to understand them in depth, we aim to address the practical challenges of environmental sustainability. Using examples from research on diverse cultural engagements with Australian environments, we aim to stimulate further dialogue and interaction among humanities and natural science scholars and practitioners.