Yellowstone holds a special place in America’s heart. As the world’s first national park, it is globally recognized as the crown jewel of modern environmental preservation. But the park and its surrounding regions have recently become a lightning rod for environmental conflict, plagued by intense and intractable political struggles among the federal government, National Park Service, environmentalists, industry, local residents, and elected officials. The Battle for Yellowstone asks why it is that, with the flood of expert scientific, economic, and legal efforts to resolve disagreements over Yellowstone, there is no improvement? Why do even seemingly minor issues erupt into impassioned disputes? What can Yellowstone teach us about the worsening environmental conflicts worldwide?
Justin Farrell argues that the battle for Yellowstone has deep moral, cultural, and spiritual roots that until now have been obscured by the supposedly rational and technical nature of the conflict. Tracing in unprecedented detail the moral causes and consequences of large-scale social change in the American West, he describes how a "new-west" social order has emerged that has devalued traditional American beliefs about manifest destiny and rugged individualism, and how morality and spirituality have influenced the most polarizing and techno-centric conflicts in Yellowstone’s history.
This groundbreaking book shows how the unprecedented conflict over Yellowstone is not all about science, law, or economic interests, but more surprisingly, is about cultural upheaval and the construction of new moral and spiritual boundaries in the American West.
Justin Farrell is assistant professor of sociology in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.
"The most original political book of early 2015 is not formally about politics at all. Instead The Battle for Yellowstone by Justin Farrell, a young scholar at Yale University, ponders venomous rows that have shaken Yellowstone National Park in recent decades, and why they are so intractable."--Economist
"In a refreshingly honest and balanced treatment, Farrell (sociology, Yale Univ.) addresses the spiritual elephant in the environmental room: the most perplexing environmental questions, the answers to which 'are only possible and made meaningful in the context of larger moral orders and spiritual narratives that shared human cultures are built upon.' With great insight and careful analysis, he examines the various reasons deep moral and spiritual meanings are often ignored, muted, and misunderstood. His scholarly diagnosis is well documented and thoroughly researched."--Choice
"Written in a highly accessiblemanner and will be of interest to many, including environmental sociologists, sociologists of culture and cognition, and sociologists of religion. . . . This book offers a rich analysis of the irascible conflicts over the human/nature relationship in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the moral and cultural embeddedness of scientific and economic discourse."--Rebecca R. Scott, American Journal of Sociology
"Farrell presents an original and compelling view of what constitutes the relevant aspects of a moral framework for understanding environmental conflicts. The scholarship is impressive."--Robert Wuthnow, author of Rough Country: How Texas Became America’s Most Powerful Bible-Belt State
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