human/nature dualism


The socially constructed human/nature dualism or separation of nature and culture is one of many "inherited  dualisms that run deep in Western cultures" (Haraway, 2004a, p. 2; see also Abram, 1996; Armbruster, 1998; Berry, 1988, 1999; Berry & Tucker, 2006; Capra, 1982; Evernden, 1992; Peterson, 2001; Plumwood, 2002; Sandilands, 1999; Russell, 2005; Swimme & Berry, 1992, and many others).

It is an often invisible "inherited violence" (Haraway, 2000, p. 106) continually re(inscribed) through everyday speech (e.g. the use of the word 'it' or 'resource' for non-human Others), action (common daily routines that do not consider the needs of non-human Others) and educational practices that make it difficult to provide opportunities for students to consider the earth as animate or communicative (Abram, 1996; Lipsett, 2001, 2002; Smith, 2004). It is also reinscribed through research that provides no space to acknowledge the contributions of non-human persons.

A hierarchical split between humans and nature has not always existed (see Cole, 2002), nor does it exist in all cultures (Davies, 2000b). This split, or dualism, is a dominant metanarrative that, in Western cultures and schools, often goes both unnoticed and unnamed. Like whiteness and maleness, humans remain the unmarked norm (Kirby, 1994) and the comparative measure (Fawcett, 2000) against which non-human Others are judged.


Can the master's house be dismantled using the same tools that created it? (Lorde, 1983).


"The universe is a communion of subjects,
not a collection of objects" (Berry & Tucker, 2006, p. 17).