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Mapping a New History of the Ecological Turn: The Circulation of Environmental Knowledge in Sweden 1967

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This essay introduces environmental historians to a new approach inspired by the burgeoning field of Wissensgeschichte; that is, the study of societal circulation of knowledge. It is argued that this new method can help us to better map out and analyse the emergence of modern environmentalism in society at large. To demonstrate the practical implications of the argument the essay is centred on an empirical investigation of a formative moment in Swedish environmental history: the eventful autumn of 1967. The study makes evident that during this period environmental issues began to be publicly regarded as a pressing global question of survival and that this development was intrinsically linked with the production of a certain kind of future-oriented expertise. The empirical findings of the essay shows that by shifting our analytical attention towards the societal circulation of knowledge we can gain new insights into the public emergence of environmentalism. It is argued that this line of research can provide a new basis for environmental historians seeking to write a new and enlarged history of the ecological turn.
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Keywords: 1960s; Environmentalism; Sweden; Wissensgeschichte; circulation of knowledge; expertise; history of knowledge

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2018

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 (2017) of 0.538. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.792.
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