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Everyday life and environmental change

Kothari, U. and Arnall, A. ORCID: (2019) Everyday life and environmental change. The Geographical Journal, 185 (2). pp. 130-141. ISSN 1475-4959

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/geoj.12296


This paper explores how daily changes in the physical environment intersect and connect with people’s everyday lives, routines and practices in the Maldives. Day-to-day life is often regarded as mundane and ordinary, and therefore not particularly worthy of study. As this paper argues, however, the everyday is central to understanding how environmental change occurs and how people respond to it. Much recent work has challenged the ontological separation of the human and non-human, yet approaches to examining environment-everyday connections have, to date, been largely one-directional, focusing on either how the environment impacts on human practices or is impacted by them. Using the notion of the everyday, this paper explores how ‘impacting on’ and ‘impacted by’ are entangled, ongoing cyclical processes that unfold daily. It draws on a series of innovative methodologies conducted with island-based communities to examine three keys changes in the physical environment that are taking place in the context of the recent and rapid development of tourism on inhabited islands: sand excavation and erosion, the appearance and removal of rubbish and debris, and the expansion of the built environment. The paper reveals the significance of these day-to-day changes and the ways in which they are accommodated by, and incorporated into, the spatial and temporal dimensions of people’s daily practices. It concludes by suggesting that an appreciation of the everyday can contribute to new understandings of human/non-human entanglements.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of International Development
ID Code:81526


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