The Nature of Spectacle

On Images, Money, and Conserving Capitalism

James Igoe (Author)
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Today crisis appears to be the normal order of things. We seem to be turning in widening gyres of economic failure, species extinction, resource scarcity, war, and climate change. These crises are interconnected ecologically, economically, and politically. Just as importantly, they are connected—and disconnected—in our imaginations. Public imaginations are possibly the most important stage on which crises are played out, for these views determine how the problems are perceived and what solutions are offered.

In The Nature of Spectacle, Jim Igoe embarks on multifaceted explorations of how we imagine nature and how nature shapes our imaginations. The book traces spectacular productions of imagined nature across time and space—from African nature tourism to transnational policy events to green consumer appeals in which the push of a virtual button appears to initiate a chain of events resulting in the protection of polar bears in the Arctic or jaguars in the Amazon rainforest. These explorations illuminate the often surprising intersections of consumerism, entertainment, and environmental policy. They show how these intersections figure in a strengthening and problematic policy consensus in which economic growth and ecosystem health are cast as mutually necessitating conditions. They also take seriously the potential of these intersections and how they may facilitate other alignments and imaginings that may become the basis of alternatives to our current socioecological predicaments.
The Nature of Spectacle speaks of the economic interests behind present-day conservation programs in a constructive as well as critical manner. This book further widens my perspective on the sociological and economical background of conservation programs.”—Economic Botany

“A historically-grounded and novel argument about conservation and capitalism.”—Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography

“Igoe’s latest book, The Nature of Spectacle, provides an engaging discussion of how representations of nature—images, videos and spaces that depict wild landscapes and living organisms—mediate relationships between humans and the environment.”—Canadian Journal of Development Studies
“[The Nature of Spectacle] would be an excellent book for teaching, as it presents a set of very complex arguments in a rather friendly manner and makes you question your own place, as a consumer of both images and commodities, within capital’s approach to the production of nature.”—Conservation and Society
The Nature of Spectacle is theoretically insightful and presents an inventive framework for understanding present entanglements, but also for imagining different futures. It is a significant contribution and essential reading for scholars studying neoliberal conservation, political ecology, and the anthropology of nature.”—African Studies Review

“Igoe offers an original and provocative take on topics that couldn’t be more relevant to ongoing debates in anthropology, geography, environmental studies, and conservation studies.”—Andrew Walsh, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario
The Nature of Spectacle
176 Pages 6 x 9
Published: September 2017Paperback ISBN: 9780816530441
Published: April 2021Ebooks (OA) ISBN: 9780816543458

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