The Politics of Place: Understanding Meaning, Common Ground, and Political Difference on the Rocky Mountain Front

Laurie Yung, Wayne A. Freimund, Jill M. Belsky

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    A major challenge of forest policy and management is effectively understanding different people's viewpoints on natural resource use and conservation, and how those viewpoints contribute to conflict and conflict resolution. In response to this challenge, the concept of place is gaining currency in natural resource research. The study of place promises an integrative approach to understanding people's relationships with particular areas. Realizing the potential of place research to inform forest policy and management means conceptualizing place as an arena of shared and contested meanings. A politics of place is attentive to different and potentially conflicting meanings, and how senses of place may be connected to larger political struggles. This study examines people's images, values, and interests with respect to the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana. In this case study, discourse about place-names provided a window into the politics of place. Results illustrate the ways in which place meanings are connected to people's ideas about property, conservation, and governance. Knowledge of the politics of place can inform forest policy and management and contribute to a more sophisticated understanding of natural resource conflict and the potential effectiveness of decision-making processes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)855-866
    Number of pages12
    JournalForest Science
    Volume49
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 2003

    Keywords

    • Environmental discourse
    • Forest planning
    • Natural resource policy
    • Natural resource social science
    • Sense of place

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