Social splinters and cross-cultural leanings: A cartographic method for examining environmental ethics

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Abstract

This paper combines the interests of geography, anthropology, and philosophy in order to examine the factors that affect environmental ethics. In particular, this paper examines some of the geographical variables that impact tribal attitudes toward bison in the contemporary world. These factors influence the position of bison within the environmental and agricultural landscape. An emphasis is placed upon networks, places, and movement in order to show how these variables redefine what is acceptable and ethical with regard to relations with nonhuman animals. In alternating fashion, the tribal networks discussed include diasporic movements, food chains, and individual life paths. In some cases, these networks distinguish tribal communities from non-tribal society while also distinguishing tribes from one another. In other instances, these networks bring tribal and non-tribal communities into greater agreement. This cartographic ethic differs substantially from modern scientific proscriptions, which characterize ethics in universal terms.

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