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The battle for Yellowstone: Morality and the  sacred roots of environmental conflict, by Justin Farrell

Informally Refereed
Authors: John Schelhas
Year: 2017
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Society & Natural Resources


A growing number of intractable environmental conflicts involving interest groups with deeply held beliefs are resisting resolution in spite of extensive scientific analysis and legal and bureaucratic attention. Justin Farrell addresses three such conflicts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) as moral and spiritual conflicts, each uniquely animated by history, context, and social relationships. Drawing on a wide range of methods, ranging from ethnography to computational content analysis, and carefully rooted in place-based experiences and historical processes, this book illustrates the central role of moral orders and  commitments in driving conflict, describes how moral environmental beliefs and narratives interact with scientific and technical information, and shows how different actors and contextual factors can drive both polarization and collaboration even at the same place and time. Farrell helps us understand conflict in the GYE and, more significantly, presents a deep and innovative sociological analysis that can inform and expand the theoretical approaches and methodological tool kits that we use to analyze a wide range of environmental issues and conflicts.


Schelhas, John. 2017. The battle for Yellowstone: Morality and the sacred roots of environmental conflict, by Justin Farrell. Society & Natural Resources. : 1-3.