Discussing Nature, ‘Doing’ Nature : for an emancipatory approach to conceptualizing young people's access to outdoor green space

Von Benzon, Nadia Rosemary (2018) Discussing Nature, ‘Doing’ Nature : for an emancipatory approach to conceptualizing young people's access to outdoor green space. Geoforum, 93. pp. 79-86. ISSN 0016-7185

[thumbnail of GEOFORUM-D-17-00406 (1)]
PDF (GEOFORUM-D-17-00406 (1))
GEOFORUM_D_17_00406_1_.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs.

Download (1MB)


Across the social sciences there is an extensive literature exploring the complex relationships between society and nature, increasingly concerned with, and critiquing, the notion of a unique relationship between children and green space. However, a nature/culture dichotomy remains central to socio-political discourse presenting a crisis of detachment. This nature/culture division can also be seen through practices surrounding children’s access to ‘nature’. This paper explores the conflict between academic and societal approaches to the nature/culture divide through the perceptions and experiences of learning disabled young people, aged 11–16. The findings illustrate the importance of allowing (learning disabled) young people the opportunity for embodied engagement in ‘nature’ spaces. Through activity the young people developed nuanced and hybrid understandings of nature that contest widely held dichotomies of nature and culture. This conceptualisation of complexity and non-dichotomy in the relationship between culture and nature may underpin exploration of the specific facets of nature that provide wellbeing benefits, potentially increasing the accessibility of the recognised benefits of ‘nature’ interaction for those who experience challenges in reaching environments understood as ‘nature’-full. As such, this paper presents a call for academics to communicate hybrid geographies in a way that is accessible beyond the ivory tower.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Geoforum. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Geoforum, 93, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.05.004
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? natureyoung peoplelearning disabilityenvironmental affordanceshybrid geographiesagential realismsociology and political science ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
15 May 2018 15:20
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 00:57