Skip to Main Content
Wilderness and the paradox of individual freedomAuthor(s): Randy J. Tanner
Source: In: Watson, Alan; Sproull, Janet; Dean, Liese, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress symposium; September 30-October 6, 2005; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-49. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 205-211
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (330 B)
DescriptionWilderness, whether designated as such or not, is often portrayed as the embodiment of freedom. The type of freedom to be enjoyed, though, is not clear. Freedom in wilderness may be constructed negatively—individuals freely experience wilderness without societal constraints; or, freedom may be constructed positively— individuals freely experience the fundamental purposes of wilderness as defined by society. The latter construction of freedom inevitably results in a “wilderness morality” that defines—often in a hierarchical manner—the acceptable purposes and uses of wilderness. Philosophers, in a general context, have long contended that these two constructions of freedom are both irreconcilable and at odds with one another. Through an examination of subsistence in Alaska and South Africa it is apparent that while conflict related to wilderness stewardship is ostensibly the result of competing interests, these competing interests are fundamentally rooted in divergent constructions of individual freedom. As a result, conflicting perceptions of wilderness and its purposes may be resolved, or at a minimum more thoroughly understood, if governing policies clearly identify what it means to be “free” in wilderness.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationTanner, Randy J. 2007. Wilderness and the paradox of individual freedom. In: Watson, Alan; Sproull, Janet; Dean, Liese, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress symposium; September 30-October 6, 2005; Anchorage, AK. Proceedings RMRS-P-49. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 205-211
Keywordswilderness, biodiversity, protected areas, economics, subsistence, tourism, traditional knowledge, community involvement, policy, stewardship, education, spiritual values
- Planned diversity: The case for a system with several types of wilderness
- Wilderness visitors, experiences, and visitor management
- Indicators of wildness: using attributes of the land to assess the context of wilderness
XML: View XML