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Everyday EnvironmentalismCreating an Urban Political Ecology$
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Alex Loftus

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665716

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665716.001.0001

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Cultural Praxis as the Production of Nature

Cultural Praxis as the Production of Nature

Lefebvrean Natures

(p.109) Chapter 5 Cultural Praxis as the Production of Nature
Everyday Environmentalism

Alex Loftus

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter seeks to challenge Henri Lefebvre’s conception of nature while extending his understanding of cultural praxis. The project initiated in the previous chapters—to make a case for metropolitan nature as a differentiated unity woven through sensuous praxis—has clear affinities with Lefebvre’s revolutionary project “to extend the boundaries of praxis into aesthetic experience and aesthetic experience into praxis.” If, however, Lefebvre seeks to extend praxis to the environmental qualities of the city, he does so with an impoverished understanding of what constitutes that environment. This is the signal move that Neil Smith performed and that was taken forward in recent writings on urban technonatures and the cyborg city. It is also perhaps the key distinction between Smith’s understanding of the production of space and Lefebvre’s own. The city is not simply a social construction ripped from its natural hinterland and transformed into a terrain over which worldviews compete and are consolidated. Instead, it is a fundamentally socio-natural entity. Recognizing this fact not only counters some of the antinomian aspects of Lefebvre’s conception of nature, but it opens the possibility for a radical environmental praxis embodied within urban interventions. This provides a richer conception of the moment of revolutionary change.

Keywords:   Henri Lefebvre, cultural praxis, nature, city environment, Neil Smith

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