Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

V. Winiwarter:

Soils and Society – an environmental history of challenge and response


The paper gives an overview of concepts and approaches for the study of relationships between soil and society. The introduction (1) offers a non-anthropocentric view on the history of soils. The DPSIR-model is introduced and discussed thereafter (2): Concepts of environmental hazard (2.1) are elucidated as well as the role of myths about nature in livelihood strategies (2.2). Environmental impacts can be investigated with the interaction model of social ecology (3). Representations of nature have to be analyzed in terms of power relations (4). Changes in the relations between soils and societies become visible in historical reflection (5). Models of social change are introduced (6). Requirements for social soil research are developed in conclusion.

Key words: Authority of knowledge, cultural theory, DPSIR, environmental history, soil research.