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Models of equilibrium, natural agency and environmental change: lay ecologies in UK recreational angling

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This paper studies how anglers in northern England invoke models of equilibrium and ‘the balance of nature’ in making sense of the water environments where they regularly fish, and how they use these models as norms or ideals when designing environmental management, alongside an emphasis on natural agency and unpredictability. Like other publics, anglers are shown to be a heterogeneous group in how they think about nature and their ‘lay ecologies’ reflect the problematic way in which equilibrium is normalised in science and policy more generally, showing similarities with professional environmental managers. But anglers are unusual publics, because their lay ecologies are put to work in collectively managing water environments, through stocking, culling and habitat management. Thus anglers’ environmental knowledge practices co-produce the environments in which they develop their lay ecologies, making their models of nature and equilibrium important both conceptually and materially.
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Keywords: angling; balance of nature; environmental knowledge-practices; equilibrium; water management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, Email: [email protected] 2: Institute of Geography & Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth SY23 3DB

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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