The Production of Nature: A Useful Lens or Flawed Marxist Viewpoint? .
"Today nature is filmed, pictured, written about and talked about everywhere. As the millennium approaches, those images and discussions are increasingly phrased in terms of crisis and catastrophe It suffuses our households, our conversation, our economies. To speak uncritically of the natural is to ignore these social questions.".
(Wilson quoted in Robertson et al, 1996:1).
It would appear that today, in this age of technological advancement and wonder, one cannot avoid the debates surrounding nature. As Wilson above proclaims, nature is at the forefront of politics, economics society and culture. Thus, as we delve further into the twenty-first century, it is perhaps necessary to take a step back and question the nature of the natural. Robertson et al (1996) highlight the importance in confronting nature in stating that the concept of "nature" is fragile and muddled with political and environmental rhetoric. As Smith (1984) states, the emergence of capitalism is in part responsible for the confusion that arches over nature. He argues that this encounter has filtered out old conceptions ushering in new theories regarding nature:.
"Much as a tree in growth adds a new ring each year, the social concept of nature has accumulated innumerable layers of meaning in the course of history.".
(Smith, 1984:1) .
One such theory that has been thrust into the debates regarding nature is that of the "production of nature." As Castree (2000) underlines, the notion that nature can be "produced" may have appeared ludicrous only a few decades ago, yet the stuff of science fiction has now become a reality and scientists are now "playing God" on a daily basis. There are of course numerous examples that can be drawn here from the manipulation of foods genetically, through to the completion of the Human Genome Project. .
Advocates of the production of nature approach, as the phrase suggests, reflect on such ecological impacts in relation to the outcome of capitalism and argue that both nature and the economy are increasingly interlinked.