Regulating Eden

Regulating Eden: The Nature of Order in North American Parks

JOE HERMER
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 176
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442679160
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  • Book Info
    Regulating Eden
    Book Description:

    In order to experience the naturalness and freedom of the parks, we must embrace the very forms of regulation that we closely associate with places we consider to be artificial, restrictive, and alienating.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7916-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. CHAPTER ONE The Emparkment of Nature
    (pp. 3-24)

    The famous American conservationist John Muir’s comment of a century ago, that the wildness of parks is a necessity for the ‘thousands of tired, nerve shaken, over civilized people,’ has never seemed more prophetic (Nash 1973:140). As places that offer us shelter from the dehumanizing surfaces of the concrete jungle, parks have come to play a crucial role in the therapy of the modern self. Our desperation to experience nature appears to be exceeded only by our ability to create equally desperate landscapes that cater to a wide range of recreational whims. Thus, we should not be surprised to read...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The Ranger Mission
    (pp. 25-44)

    As the sworn agent of emparkment missions, the park ranger patrols the boundaries of park destinations, policing a notion of order that is peculiar to North American parks. Park rangers do much more than simply ‘preserve and protect’ park resources and users; they enforce a regime of permission that is central to the presentation of the park as a ‘natural’ landscape. This chapter explores the character of the park ranger and the mission which he is charged with carrying out.

    Considering the wide variety of emparkment projects in North America, it is somewhat surprising that there appears to be a...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Regulating Park Space
    (pp. 45-68)

    The most visible aspect of the mission of regulated exploitation is the ordered appearance of park space. In the public imagination, ‘natural’ park space stands as a permissive expanse that has escaped the control of civilizing technology, that is an apparent relief from the crowded concrete jungle of urban life. When park visitors arrive at the gates of North American parks, they are about to enter a highly sanitized landscape that is intensely ordered, that tells people where to go, what to do, and how long to do it. The so-called ‘wild’ space of emparked nature parodies the public expectation...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Regulation of Conduct
    (pp. 69-102)

    Here I catalogue in some detail how the mission of regulated exploitation is carried out through extensive and sustained discourses of moral order that target the conduct of park visitors. I begin by discussing how park government segregates and prescribes day and night conduct through the tight control of what constitutes ‘camping’ and ‘shelter.’ I examine the three main regulatory themes that are framed by this distinction: the keeping of peace and quiet through the regulation of both visual and audible noise, the promotion of decency through the prohibition of public acts of sex and nakedness, and the prescriptions for...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE The Emparkment of Order
    (pp. 103-120)

    Over the last century, parks have embodied a set of moral values that are viewed, often with great nostalgia, as representing the most enlightened impulses that we are capable of as a society. The idea of collectively protecting spaces, setting them aside in law for our own betterment and for the protection of ‘nature,’ is often viewed as something that we have ‘gotten right’ in a society routinely characterized as uncaring and self-interested. Ironically, parks make us feel human at times when our humanity often seems to be in question. That we have managed to get parks so wrong, that...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 121-128)
  12. References
    (pp. 129-146)
  13. Index
    (pp. 147-150)