Högskolans skriftserier

Facing Nature

Cultivating Experience in the Nature Connection Movement

Omslag för Facing Nature: Cultivating Experience in the Nature Connection Movement

Ohlsson, Henrik

Through field research in Sweden and Finland between 2017 and 2022, the thesis follows a burgeoning social movement in which connection with nature is seen as a means of both personal wellbeing and ecological sustainability at the societal level. The thesis describes and analyses ideas, practices, organisations, and literature in a contemporary cultural context in the borderland between health practice, environmental activism, and spirituality. It also examines participants' personal experiences and understands both the practice and its social milieu as a cultivation of experience, whereby experiences of nature as alive and communicative are maintained and enhanced. This leads into a discussion of animism in a contemporary Western context, where the thesis aims to develop a multidimensional understanding which takes into account not only ontology and cognitive-perceptual patterns, but also lays emphasis on emotional and ethical dimensions.

The thesis employs the concept face, which, in the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, signifies the encounter with subjectivity outside of oneself. In contrast to objects, which can be grasped intellectually and thus controlled and incorporated, the face reveals a reality beyond conceptualisation to which one must relate ethically. The thesis arrives at an understanding of both health and spirituality as states of (relative) openness toward the world and its human and non-human inhabitants. 

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2022. 224 sidor.

ISBN 978-91-89504-05-9

Serie: Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, 1652-7399 ; 204

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