Textual politics and textual violence in environmental education research

Year: 2007

Author: Gough, Noel

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper explores the textual politics of environmental education research via the 'geophilosophy' of Gilles Deleuze and F‚lix Guattari, with particular reference to its application by criminologist Mark Halsey. Halsey examines the process, impact, and ethics of naming nature, focussing on the categories and thresholds used over time to map and transform a particular area of forested terrain in eastern Victoria, and the socio-ecological costs arising from these thresholds and transformations and ensuing conflicts. Halsey provides a detailed micropolitical account of the modes of envisaging and enunciating a particular geopolitical space and the 'violence' that make them possible. He shows how this geopolitical terrain has been textually configured over time - by Indigenous knowledges and Eurocentric laws, management plans, mining leases, etc. - and how, why and for whom these configurations produce environmental damage. Halsey demonstrates that Deleuze and Guattari's geophilosophy provides a means for keeping pace with the mobility of environmental problems by considering nature and systems of environmental regulation as discursively produced and contested. I argue that this approach engages a new ethics for categorising and regulating nature, thus challenging environmental education researchers to reconsider what it is possible to say and do about environmental problems.