Humboldt, Romantic Science and Ecocide: a Walk in the Woods


Psychology as a science has focussed on internal landscapes at the expense of external ones, a fact that becomes increasingly problematic as we struggle to accept and respond to the climate crisis and its psychoterratic sequelae. This paper, written at the time of the 2019/2020 summer bushfires in Australia, takes inspiration from the Romantic Science of von Humboldt to document our affective response to our natural environment. We aimed, through a method of Flaneurie, to focus and respond and in doing so advocate for this kind of meandering as psychogeographic research. We were inspired also, in presenting our findings, by contemporary post-qualitative methodology, weaving together our observation and introspection in bricolage, to access knowledge beyond the nosology of presumptions, codes and themes. This paper links mental health and well-being to the natural environment, today a political objective. Showing that the human-nature relationship has crucial leverage for the subjects psyche and thus is highly relevant for psychology and psychological science.

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    Divergence primarily resulting from difference our demographics and large-scale geographic contexts, i.e. two authors located in the northern hemisphere, two authors in the southern.


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Correspondence to Johanna L. Degen.

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Degen, J.L., Rhodes, P., Simpson, S. et al. Humboldt, Romantic Science and Ecocide: a Walk in the Woods. Hu Arenas 3, 516–533 (2020).

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  • Post-qualitative research
  • Climate change
  • Eco-anxiety
  • Human-nature relationship
  • Mental health
  • von Humboldt
  • Romantic Science