Sign up for our Email Newsletter Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
Culture and the Changing Environment: Uncertainty, Cognition, and Risk Management in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Culture and the Changing Environment

Uncertainty, Cognition, and Risk Management in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Edited by Michael J. Casimir

410 pages, 30 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-478-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2008)

ISBN  978-1-84545-683-2 $39.95/£31.95 Pb Published (September 2009)

eISBN 978-0-85745-004-3 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This remarkable anthology of 13 essays is a cross-cultural study on ecological anthropology, which examines the cultural construction of nature, human evaluation of environmental risks, and human action to mitigate such risks. The anthology persuasively critiques the privileging of Western rationality over culture-specific perspectives of environmental change… [It] stands alone for the geographical sweep of its contributions - from Europe, Asia, and Africa - and its disciplinary eclecticism, which draws deeply on anthropology, geography, psychology, ethnography, ethnology, and sociology… Essential.”  ·  Choice


Today human ecology has split into many different sub-disciplines such as historical ecology, political ecology or the New Ecological Anthropology. The latter in particular has criticised the predominance of the Western view on different ecosystems, arguing that culture-specific world views and human-environment interactions have been largely neglected. However, these different perspectives only tackle specific facets of a local and global hyper-complex reality. In bringing together a variety of views and theoretical approaches , these especially commissioned essays prove that an interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding of the extreme complexity of the human-environment interface(s) is possible.

Michael J. Casimir is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne. He has conducted prolonged fieldwork on the ecology, economy, environmental management and nutritional and socialisation patterns among pastoral nomads in west Afghanistan and Kashmir. Together with Aparna Rao he was chairperson of the Commission on Nomadic Peoples of the International Union of Ethnological and Anthropological Sciences (1995–1998), and was until 2004 one of the editors of Nomadic Peoples (Berghahn), the official journal of the Commission. His major publications include Flocks and Food. A Biocultural Approach to the Study of Pastoral Foodways (1991); Mobility and Territoriality (ed. 1992); Nomadism in South Asia (ed. 2003).

Subject: Environmental Studies (General) Theory and Methodology


List of Maps, Figures and Tables

The Mutual Dynamics of Cultural and Environmental Change: An Introductory Essay
Michael J. Casimir


Chapter 1. Antinomies of Environmental Risk Perception: Cognitive Structure and Evaluation
Gisela Böhm and Hans-Rüdiger Pfister

Chapter 2. Risk Management and Morality in Agriculture: Conventional and Organic Farming in a German Region
Thomas Döring, Lutz H. Eckensberger, Annette Huppert and Heiko Breit

Chapter 3. Attributed Causes of Environmental Problems: A Cross-Cultural Study of Coping Strategies
Josef Nerb, Andrea Bender and Hans Spada

Chapter 4. Decision-Making in Times of Disaster: The Acceptance of Wet-Rice Cultivation among the Aeta of Zambales, Philippines
Stefan Seitz

Chapter 5. Drought and ‘Natural’ Stress in the Southern Dra Valley: Varying Perceptions among Nomads and Farmers
Barbara Casciarri

Chapter 6. Local Environmental Crises and Global Sea-Level Rise: The Case of Coastal Zones in Senegal
Anita Engels

Chapter 7. Meshing a Tight Net: A Cultural Response to the Threat of Open Access Fishing Grounds
Andrea Bender


Chapter 8. Dangers, Experience and Luck: Living with Uncertainty in the Andes
Barbara Göbel

Chapter 9. Transforming Livelihoods: Meanings and Concepts of Drought, Coping and Risk Management in Botswana
Fred Krüger and Andrea Grotzke

Chapter 10. Cultural Politics of Natural Disasters: Discourses on Volcanic Eruptions in Indonesia
Judith Schlehe

Chapter 11. Knowing the Sea in the ‘Time of Progress’: Environmental Change, Parallel Knowledges and the Uses of Metaphor in Kerala (South India)
Götz Hoeppe

Chapter 12. Mass Tourism and Ecological Problems in Seaside Resorts of Southern Thailand: Environmental Perceptions, Assessments and Behaviour Regarding the Problem of Waste
Karl Vorlaufer, Heike Becker-Baumann and Gabriela Schmitt

Chapter 13. Local Experts – Expert Locals: A Comparative Perspective on Biodiversity and Environmental Knowledge Systems in Australia and Namibia
Thomas Widlok

Notes on Contributors

Back to Top