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Edward Hyams: Ecology and Politics 'Under the Vine'

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Abstract:

This paper offers an assessment of the agricultural eco-politics of Edward Hyams (1910-75), novelist, gardener, historian, broadcaster and anarchist. It focuses in particular on his collaboration with the conservative writer on rural England, and founding member of the Soil Association, H.J. Massingham which resulted in a book, Prophecy of Famine (1953) - a fundamental critique of the effects of industrial capitalism on farming and a call for agricultural self-sufficiency and soil conservation. This collaboration between two writers with very different political views raises important questions about the nature of eco-politics and whether its critique of the dominant ideology of 'progress' (at least in its historicist forms) can still constitute a radical 'progressive' politics. Hyams' writings, and his differences from Massingham, particularly over the issue of private ownership of land, are illustrative of this apparent tension.

Keywords: Edward Hyams; ecological politics; historicism; organic agriculture; progress

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327111X12922350166111

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2014) of 1.056.
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