chapter
environment Meanings
Pages 1

In common usage, ‘environment’ refers to nonhuman influences on humanity. Like ‘nature’, it is shorthand for the biophysical context, the ‘natural world’ in which we live. Less obviously is it linked with *nature/culture dualism, and is intrinsically anthropocentric in its cosmological image of humanity surrounded by relevant biophysical factors. Environment refers not just to biophysical context, but to human interaction with, and interpretation of, that context. When environment is used in its etymological sense of ‘surroundings’, the term ‘environmental anthropology’ is tautologous, since all anthropology is worthless if it fails to provide a †holistic analysis of context.