WHP Logo

The White Horse Press

Environmental Values

Contents of Volume 14

Other volumes of EV

Environmental Values

Citizens, Denizens and the Res Publica: Environmental Ethics, Structures of Feeling and Political Expression

Mick Smith

Environmental Values 14(2005): 145-162. doi: 10.3197/0963271054084939

Environmental ethics should be understood as a radical project that challenges the limits of contemporary ethical and political expression, a limit historically defined by the concept of the citizen. This dominant model of public being, frequently justified in terms of a formal or procedural rationality, facilitates an exclusionary ethos that fails to properly represent our concerns for the non-human world. It tends to regard emotionally mediated concerns for others as a source of irrational and subjective distortions in an otherwise rationally ordered ethico-political community. In doing so it underestimates the important role played by 'structures of feeling', those culturally variable patterns of emotionally mediated responses, that provide the (shifting) grounds for all ethical experience, motivation, communication and interpretation. An alternative model of political expression more suitable to an environmental ethic, the denizen, is suggested.

KEYWORDS: Emotion, environmental ethics, structures of feeling, hermeneutics, denizen

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Lost for Words? Gadamer and Benjamin on the Nature of Language and the 'Language' of Nature Mick Smith

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Environmentalism in Ireland: Ecological Modernisation versus Populist Rural Sentiment. Liam Leonard

This article is available online (PDF format) from Ingenta Journals. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values. Reprints of this article can be ordered from ingenta or the British Library

Contact the publishers for subscriptions and back numbers of Environmental Values.

Other papers in this volume

The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222