Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Out of the Woods and into the Lab: Exploring the Strange Marriage of American Woodcraft and Soviet Ecology in Czech Environmentalism

Buy Article:

$20.22 + tax (Refund Policy)

It is widely assumed that modern environmentalist thinking was imported into post-communist states such as the Czech Republic post 1989. This paper shows these countries had environmental traditions of their own. From its inception in the late 1950s Czech environmentalism was concerned with nature conservation and youth education. At the core of its pedagogy was a concern to educate about and in nature, following the woodcraft and scouting tradition. But formal educational experiences were also significant. Environmental problems were framed as exclusively scientific issues by communist higher education systems. Thus, Czech environmentalism was a blend of the officially sanctioned rational and scientific perception of environmental issues and a more independent romanticising undercurrent. We show how Czech post-war environmental politics blended Soviet ecology with covert references to the mythology of American West, the virtues of pristine nature and of individual freedom. This heritage allowed Czech environmentalism to adapt to both communist and capitalist systems. However, it also meant it was not equipped to deliver a strategic or systematic critique of either. Our research helps to explain the surprisingly muted role of environmentalism in post-communist politics, and confirms the importance of nuanced and culturally specific analyses of the history of environmental politics.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Czech environmentalism; Soviet ecological science; lecological modernisation; woodcraft

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2018) of 0.800. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.918.
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more