Introduction: Environmental anthropology of today and tomorrow

Helen Kopnina*, Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscriptpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Anthropology is traditionally broken into several subfields, physical/ biological anthropology, social/cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and sometimes also applied anthropology. Anthropology of the environment, or environmental anthropology, is a specialization within the field of anthropology that studies current and historic human environment interactions. Although the terms environmental anthropology and ecological anthropology are often used interchangeably, environmental anthropology is considered by some to be the applied dimension of ecological anthropology, which encompasses the broad topics of primate ecology, paleoecology, cultural ecology, ethnoecology, historical ecology, political ecology, spiritual ecology, and human behavioral and evolutionary ecology. However, according to Townsend (2009: 104), “ecological anthropology will refer to one particular type of research in environmental anthropology-field studies that describe a single ecosystem including a human population and frequently deal with a small population of only a few hundred people such as a village or neighborhood.” Kottak states that the new ecological anthropology mirrors more general changes in the discipline: the shift from research focusing on a single community or unique culture “to recognizing pervasive linkages and concomitant flows of people, technology, images, and information, and to acknowledging the impact of differential power and status in the postmodern world on local entities. In the new ecological anthropology, everything is on a larger scale” (Kottak 1999:25).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Anthropology
Subtitle of host publicationFuture Directions
EditorsHelen Kopnina, Eleanor Shoreman-Ouimet
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780203403341
ISBN (Print)9780415517485
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Anthropology
PublisherTaylor & Francis


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