Moral Ecologies: Histories of Conservation, Dispossession and Resistance
Karl Jacoby’s Crimes against Nature has proved to be a hugely influential book, impacting upon variously upon global environmental histories, the history of conservation and development studies. Jacoby’s defining concept of ‘moral ecology’—that against elite, top-down conservation schemes that sought to criminalise customary and often sustainable practices such as the taking of wood and game, those already dwelling on the land resisted by continuing to live their lives as before—has proved less impactful. This chapter sets out both to explore the concept, the contexts and concepts that underpin it, and intellectual parallels. In so doing, it seeks to offer ‘routes’ forward to deepen the concept and help apply it in other contexts. The chapter ends by mapping out the arguments that follow in the rest of the book.