The Ideological Susceptibility of ‘Nature’: How Common-sense Notions of ‘Nature’ are Open to Far-Right Capture in Informal Environmental Education

Jamie Mcphie, David Clarke

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The rising mentions of ecofascism in the media, and increasing discourses on far-rightenvironmentalism in academic spaces, point to an underexamined phenomena of potentialsignificance for environmental education. In this philosophical analysis, we suggest that the(concept) ‘nature’, is often handled straightforwardly, unproblematically, or ‘commonsensically’,within environmental education discourse. Further, we suggest that what we perceive as thisapolitical handling of ‘nature’ creates what Reid and Scott (2013) might call a ‘blind spot’ ofenvironmental education research - blind spots being those topics that we ‘don’t know wellenough to even ask about or care about’. It is within this blind spot that a form of far-rightinformal environmental education is occurring, largely in online spaces, as evidenced in onlineforums such as 4Chan and 8Chan. Questions then arise around the mechanisms by whichpolitical ideology (and theology) interact with lived concepts of the environment in these andother spaces. For example, how do ‘normalized’ versions of taxonomized ecology interact withbiologically and/or theologically driven policy/law making, such as abortion rights, gay marriageor racial inclusion? With this paper, we explore how this problem aligns with a Deleuzianunderstanding of concepts as always performing, to help better understand how variousconceptualisations of ‘nature’ (environment, ecology, taxonomy, etc.) are implicitly moresusceptible to far-right capture. The upshot, we suggest, is that environmental educators mightbetter account for the always already political implications of the various concepts of naturewhich inform their practices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
EventAmerican Educational Research Association 2023 Annual Meeting - Chicago, United States
Duration: 13 Apr 202316 Apr 2023


ConferenceAmerican Educational Research Association 2023 Annual Meeting
Abbreviated title2023 AERA Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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