Understanding Changing Cultural Perceptions of Nature in Relation to Rewilding Projects

Lead Research Organisation: University of Brighton
Department Name: Sch of Applied Social Sciences


While there is a growing body of evidence showing the ecological benefits of rewilding, research on the sociological effect of rewilding is still scarce. This investigation will help to inform practice through understanding the social circulation of ideas about nature in relation to a specific rewilding project. Existing studies of rewilding note a number of barriers to changing policy in support of rewilding. These studies show how culture, legal frameworks, and economics often function to prevent rewilding projects taking place. Many of these studies suggest new economic frameworks and policies to make rewilding economically and legally viable. However, few academics have studied how to overcome the cultural barriers to rewilding, which prevents policies being developed on this point. If rewilding projects are to become a serious alternative to current land management and conservation methods, knowledge and experience of how these cultural barriers function must be produced. This study will use Zizek's understanding of social ideology to understand how ideologies of nature function in relation to a local rewilding project, in particular, how these ideologies respond and connect to restoration of natural ecological processes. This will be achieved by examining how various groups and interests perceive nature, and by understanding how this perception changes over time. The research output will help to fill the absence of research on cultural barriers to rewilding and will assist with the development of policy.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000673/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2278228 Studentship ES/P000673/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2022 Alex Lee