Through a discussion of urban foraging in Seattle, Washington, USA, we examine how people's plant and mushroom harvesting practices in cities are linked to relationships with species, spaces, and ecologies. Bringing a relational approach to political ecology, we discuss the ways that these particular nature–society relationships are formed, legitimated, and mobilized in discursive and material ways in urban ecosystems. Engaging closely with and as foragers, we develop an ethnographically grounded ‘relational ecologies of belonging’ framework to conceptualize and examine three constituent themes: cultural belonging and identity, belonging and place, and belonging and more-than-human agency. Through this case study, we show the complex ways that urban foraging is underpinned by interconnected and multiple notions of identity, place, mobility, and agency for both humans and more-than-human interlocutors. The focus on relational ecologies of belonging illuminates important challenges for environmental management and public space planning in socioecologically diverse areas. Ultimately, these challenges reflect negotiated visions about how we organize ourselves and live together in cosmopolitan spaces such as cities.
Poe, Melissa R.; LeCompte, Joyce; McLain, Rebecca J.; and Hurley, Patrick T., "Urban Foraging and the Relational Ecologies of Belonging" (2014). Environmental Studies Faculty Publications. 6.
Environmental Studies Commons, Human Geography Commons, Nature and Society Relations Commons, Other Political Science Commons, Regional Sociology Commons, Sociology of Culture Commons, Sustainability Commons, Urban Studies and Planning Commons
The item available for download here is the version of record originally published in Social & Cultural Geography, Volume 15, 2014, Issue 8.
The final publication is also available at Taylor & Francis via http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2014.908232
This research was funded by the USDA Pacific Northwest Research Station, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Institute for Culture and Ecology.