Nature and Psyche

Radical Environmentalism and the Politics of Subjectivity

By David W. Kidner

Subjects: Environmental Psychology
Paperback : 9780791447529, 388 pages, November 2000
Hardcover : 9780791447512, 388 pages, November 2000

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Table of contents


Part One
Nature and Psyche in an Industrialist Landscape

1. Introduction: In Search of the "Natural"
2. Psychology's Betrayal of the Natural World
3. The Colonization of the Psyche

Part Two
Reintegrating Nature and Psyche

4. Natural Cultures, Psychic Landscapes
5. The Psychodynamics of Self-World Relations
6. Resymbolizing Nature
7. Healing the World of Wounds


Underscores the limitations of traditional psychology to envision a more healthy ecological and psychological future.


Nature and Psyche argues that psychological and environmental writing and action are all too often colonized by the same assumptions that inhibit ecological and cultural diversity. Industrialized monocultures conceal the character of our alienation from nature and, thus, prevent the emergence of effective solutions. Drawing on a diversity of disciplines, David Kidner illustrates that traditional psychological understanding is often inherently hostile to the natural order, and that the dominant form of selfhood that has emerged in the industrialized world promotes the domestication of nature. In fact, even some of the most radical environmentalists, who simplistically oppose technology, are also trapped within this paradigm. The author demonstrates that a more critical historical and cultural awareness, rooted in nature, can enable a re-integration of nature and psyche.

David W. Kidner is Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the Humanities and Communication Studies Programmes at Nottingham Trent University.


"David Kidner's book … does for environmental theory what Edward Said's book, Orientalism, did for postcolonial cultural criticism: it lays open the belly of the industrialist beast and shows how pervasive the assumptions of industrialism are in contemporary psychological theory and practice, as well as in academic discourse and environmental practice. " — Environmental Practice

"…erudite discussion that analyzes the fragmented industrialist ideology he believes is contributing to the gradual extinction of natural structures. " — CHOICE

"The Titanic is sinking and Kidner rightly shows that it is no longer enough simply to slow the rate of sinking. We need a new boat, and his book provides the first in-depth plans for its construction, a vessel—human consciousness—which does not start in hubris and the boast of being un-sinkable because we have so distanced ourselves from the natural world. Kidner's book rightly invites participation founded on our resonance with nature. At bottom psyche does sink its roots deep within the earth. This book is destined to become a landmark. " — Robert Romanyshyn, author of Technology as Symptom and Dream and The Soul in Grief: Love, Death and Transformation

"Nature and Psyche has a tremendous amount of theoretical drive and integrity. Kidner is not afraid to make large claims, and writes with the sure confidence of a calling, yet never loses a critical edge. What is powerful about his work is the way he gets the reader to really appreciate what is meant by opening the psyche to nature, and, by contrast, the closed and fragmented world of ordinary consciousness. " — Joel Kovel, author of History and Spirit: An Inquiry into the Philosophy of Liberation