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Vanishing Peregrines: J.A.Baker, Environmental Crisis and Bird-centred Cultures of Nature, 1954-1973

Nixon, SJ (2017) 'Vanishing Peregrines: J.A.Baker, Environmental Crisis and Bird-centred Cultures of Nature, 1954-1973.' Rural History, 28 (2). 205 - 226. ISSN 0956-7933

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Abstract

Taking J. A. Baker's celebrated book The Peregrine as its focus, the article seeks to locate Baker's writing within a broader, less elevated field of postwar observation and publication that worked to shape new ways of understanding, apprehending and taking pleasure from the natural environment. This included the recording practices and publications of the national and county naturalist and birdwatching societies that flourished in these years. The article shows how Baker's book was as much the product of this world of organised amateur natural history as it was of the world of high literature. Baker's book also sheds light on the reconfiguring of bird-human relations within competing postwar cultures of nature and the article uses it to explore the relationship between birdwatching and the bird-centred field sport of falconry. As organised birdwatching sought to establish moral authority over other bird-centred countryside pursuits in its understanding of natural relations, it cast field sports and other countryside practices as atavistic and archaic relics of older cultures of nature. Baker's The Peregrine allows us to see the convergences between the close attention to birds of prey and an intimacy with them that was shared by birdwatchers like Baker and falconers, even as Baker's narrative also sheds light on the differences between the two practices.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2017 10:21
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2018 16:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20311

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