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Nature Culture Integration & the Mongolian Altai(1)

Nature Culture Integration & the Mongolian Altai(1)
I will now move on to topic five, which is the fifth and final topic. So this presentation is about integration of nature and culture in western heritage management. And I will use the example of a World Heritage listed working integration in the Mongolian Altai discuss the issue. But more than a decade, I’ve held the view that nature and culture as constructed in western epistemology or knowledge systems needs to be better integrated in the management of landscapes, including those within protected areas. For me, nature and culture are not separate or even link their minds, but rather they are mutually constituted.
That is nature and culture have always evolved one with the other in ways that are so intertwined as to be impossible to meaningfully disassociated. This thinking results may personally from three key influences. First, I worked for more than two decades in protected areas systems in Australia where different legislator, administrative and management systems operate for each of the demands of natural indigenous, and non- indigenous heritage, which I touched on earlier. Second, my work with indigenous Australian aboriginal people or indigenous people who hold very different cosmology or world views from western enlightenment constructs. And third, working in a cross discipline in field of cultural landscapes both in Australia and internationally.
However, I began to theorize or conceptualize nature cultures as mutually constituted only in the last decade or so, in addition to writings by scholars such as Lynn Moscow and Denis Byrne, I think it was from my doctoral Phd research. This research project was undertaken over the period twenty ten to twenty fourteen. And although not directly concerned with nature cultures, it provided me with concepts and a language to articulate my views on the topic. I think this is a critical study of the concept of place attachment in Australian heritage practice and its application in this field.
A few studies I undertook for the project, related to the connections that Anglo Australians have toward domestic homes and gardens within the Australian protected area system. And we’re based on interviews with people who had created, head for and go experience such designed landscapes. My broader concern was that the connections and deeply held feeling that individuals hold for such special places, we’re not being respected in the process of pop management. And on occasion, diminished with nature conservation and indigenous heritage management was privileged to other non- indigenous heritage attributes and values. Fine stratagems in the practice heritage is typically characterized as a form of intangible heritage arising from interactions, connections or associations that exist between people and place.
In my research, I try to have these meanings or concepts in developmental psychology and cultural geography. And I get the idea of place attachment is often applied uncritically in heritage conservation, because the field lays on the body of discipline specific theory. It was my thesis, applies attachment can be conceptualize in a way that is more amenable to effective management, heritage management practice. That is currently the case. I proposed the concept of place attachment that draws on a notion of interaction and theories of attachment agency and affect. I defined place attachment is a distributed phenomenon that emerges through the entanglements of individuals or groups, places and things.
The findings from the collected interviews I suggested, often support for concept of place attachment as entanglement. To my mind, entanglement is a word that captures the inter connectivity between people’s feeling for places and things, their homes or gardens, for example. And in relation to nature cultures, entanglement encapsulate the idea that nature and culture are mutually constituted and conceptually a problematic to separate. By position on entanglement draws on the work of feminist philosopher Karen barrett concept of imaginary to realism. An architect lost the manual deliand application of assemblage theory. I’m also influenced by a story Nicholas Thomas, who adopts an entanglement framework, explore how objects become entangled in colonialism.
And I also use archaeologist En Harder who applies a bridging concept of entanglement , his analysis of archaeological data. I found the concept of entanglement useful and can conceptualize in the way people’s feelings become entwined or interconnected with, for example, the plants in their gardens. The plants that signify or embody happy or sad life events, or have been gifts and close friends, or remind of a loved one who had passed away. Thus, attachment as entanglement expresses the separate of human feelings and emotions from individual plantings and specific species, some introduced. That is entanglement is a useful construct for conceptualize in human emotion and meaningful objects, including plants as interwoven rather than separate.
I subsequently found much of the conceptual material I’ve drawn, on a developing my thesis could be applied to framing issues concerning nature culture integration. The idea of nature and culture, and therefore natural heritage and cultural heritage. A separate and distinct domains has a long history in western thinking. Such thinking derives from constructing a series of opposites or by reads that include not only nature culture, but also tangible, intangible, past, present, human, non human, plant, animal, etc. Entanglement is a concept able to be used to resist such boundaries. And in the case of nature cultures to dissolve the distinction between them, because in any given landscape, they are co-constituted or folded together.
I now want to talk about on the connecting practice project which is appropriate IUCN and ICOMOS and some field work in the Mongolia Altai. UNESC, the united nations educational, scientific, and cultural organization, its convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, the World Heritage convention is a living instrument in the recognition and management of cultural and natural heritage. Yet despite forty five years of operation, the work of the convention continues to treat these domains as separate and divided. Connecting practice was a project devised and implemented by IUCN international union for the conservation of nature and ICOMOS, international council on monuments and sites.
In Berkeley, and I oppose advisory committees to the advisory bodies to the World Heritage committee. In Batman of IUCN and Crystal Berkeley from ICOMOS coordinated the project which aimed, and I quote, to explore, learn and create new methods that are centered on recognizing and supporting the interconnected character of the natural, cultural, and social values of highly significant landscapes, and seascapes in the quiet. Connecting practice adopted a practice their approach where by representatives by using ICOMOS worked collaborative at World Heritage listed properties, intended outcome of the work, was to define practical strategies; to deliver a fully connected approach to considering nature and culture in the practice and institutional cultures of IUCN and ICOMOS.
In order to live advice that will achieve better conservation and sustainable use outcomes, reflect the perspectives, interests, and rights of custodians and local communities. I had the privilege of participating in three two pilots of the connecting practice project. During its first phase, which run from 2013 to 2015. These include the initial expert round table to friendly initiative in 2014, field work in Mongolia in October 2014, and the concluding expert workshop ,hosted by the international academy of nature conservation in Germany. Initial expert round table was held IUCN headquarters in Gland in Switzerland.
Although I had been a member of the WCPA the world commission on protected areas since 2010, this was the first time I had directly engage with the work of the commission. It was an opportunity to make within, and experienced and knowledgeable group with a shared concern to improve working relationships between IUCN and ICOMOS. And ultimately to achieve improved outcomes for the safeguarding and sustainability of heritage places and their attendant communities. I was mindful like many at the meeting of the impacts, that the divide between nature and culture and World Heritage processes and practices was having for non western nations, for example China and indigenous groups, including Australian aboriginal people.
One of my contribution to this workshop was to introduce the concept of entanglement and to discuss with participants its relevance as a countering concept, to a nature, culture dichotomy.

More than a decade, Steve Brown has held the view that nature and culture as constructed in western epistemology or knowledge systems need to be better integrated in the management of landscapes, including those within protected areas.

For him, nature and culture are not separate or even link their minds, but rather they are mutually constituted.

Do you agree with the view of Dr. Steve Brown?

What’s your opinion on the relationship of nature and culture?

Please feel free to leave a comment in the discussion area.

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