Research Topic

Cross-Cultural and Relational Views on Nature

About this Research Topic

The fragmentation and adherence to the Western view of separating nature from non-nature is not benefiting us and may even make it more difficult to take action in the present environmental crisis. Research on environmental psychology tends to define nature with reference to natural spaces or landscapes in which vegetation of different sorts is present and in relation to spaces that are separated from the built environment. Reliance on the ‘natural versus built environments’ view excludes other ways of perceiving and defining nature which may be present in research with non-Western respondents. For some cultures, for example, there are no words for nature, landscape, and wilderness to refer to nature. In order to avoid theoretical bifurcations and search for worldviews and theories which avoids the perceiver-perceived dualism, we need a cross-cultural understanding of nature.

There is a need to address people in different cultures in our aim to better manage and preserve the natural environment. In view of climate change and the increasing destruction of natural environments and ecosystems, different conceptual frameworks have been proposed to integrate different views of nature. Current nature-related policies, such as the European Landscape Convention give particular attention to landscape perception in different social and spatial contexts. The European Landscape Convention has been stressing the need to take into account people’s landscape perceptions on how different groups of people define, perceive, and use nature differently from the Western ones.

This Research Topic aims to provide a forum for researchers interested in non-dichotomic views of nature, to publish thought-provoking theoretical papers and empirical studies addressing people’s perception and interaction with nature across cultures. Both empirical and theoretical papers are welcome.

This Research Topic explores similarities and differences in people’s perceptions of nature across different cultures. Nature refers to both green spaces, open spaces, blue spaces, and grey settings. The central questions of this Research Topic include:

• How do people define and perceive nature in different socio-cultural contexts?
• What is considered as ‘relational values’ related to nature and how are they measured?
• What is the integrative potential and applicability of ‘relational models’, such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES model), Ecosystem services, and the social-ecological systems?

In particular, we welcome contributors to address the following themes:

• Critique of recently proposed conceptual frameworks to integrate culture and nature
• Comparison of novel integrative conceptual frameworks for a more inclusive view of nature
• Empirical studies comparing different views of nature in diverse social contexts
• Cross-cultural studies on landscape perception, biophilic values, and biophilic design in different social and spatial contexts
• Integrative methods for assessing ‘relational values’ on nature


Keywords: culture, nature, perception, relational values, biophilia


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The fragmentation and adherence to the Western view of separating nature from non-nature is not benefiting us and may even make it more difficult to take action in the present environmental crisis. Research on environmental psychology tends to define nature with reference to natural spaces or landscapes in which vegetation of different sorts is present and in relation to spaces that are separated from the built environment. Reliance on the ‘natural versus built environments’ view excludes other ways of perceiving and defining nature which may be present in research with non-Western respondents. For some cultures, for example, there are no words for nature, landscape, and wilderness to refer to nature. In order to avoid theoretical bifurcations and search for worldviews and theories which avoids the perceiver-perceived dualism, we need a cross-cultural understanding of nature.

There is a need to address people in different cultures in our aim to better manage and preserve the natural environment. In view of climate change and the increasing destruction of natural environments and ecosystems, different conceptual frameworks have been proposed to integrate different views of nature. Current nature-related policies, such as the European Landscape Convention give particular attention to landscape perception in different social and spatial contexts. The European Landscape Convention has been stressing the need to take into account people’s landscape perceptions on how different groups of people define, perceive, and use nature differently from the Western ones.

This Research Topic aims to provide a forum for researchers interested in non-dichotomic views of nature, to publish thought-provoking theoretical papers and empirical studies addressing people’s perception and interaction with nature across cultures. Both empirical and theoretical papers are welcome.

This Research Topic explores similarities and differences in people’s perceptions of nature across different cultures. Nature refers to both green spaces, open spaces, blue spaces, and grey settings. The central questions of this Research Topic include:

• How do people define and perceive nature in different socio-cultural contexts?
• What is considered as ‘relational values’ related to nature and how are they measured?
• What is the integrative potential and applicability of ‘relational models’, such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES model), Ecosystem services, and the social-ecological systems?

In particular, we welcome contributors to address the following themes:

• Critique of recently proposed conceptual frameworks to integrate culture and nature
• Comparison of novel integrative conceptual frameworks for a more inclusive view of nature
• Empirical studies comparing different views of nature in diverse social contexts
• Cross-cultural studies on landscape perception, biophilic values, and biophilic design in different social and spatial contexts
• Integrative methods for assessing ‘relational values’ on nature


Keywords: culture, nature, perception, relational values, biophilia


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Abstract
31 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Abstract
31 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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