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The Power of the Periphery
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Book description

What is the source of Norway's culture of environmental harmony in our troubled world? Exploring the role of Norwegian scholar-activists of the late twentieth century, Peder Anker examines how they portrayed their country as a place of environmental stability in a world filled with tension. In contrast with societies dirtied by the hot and cold wars of the twentieth century, Norway's power, they argued, lay in the pristine, ideal natural environment of the periphery. Globally, a beautiful Norway came to be contrasted with a polluted world and fashioned as an ecological microcosm for the creation of a better global macrocosm. In this innovative, interdisciplinary history, Anker explores the ways in which ecological concerns were imported via Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962, then to be exported from Norway back to the world at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.


‘In this exhilarating romp through history, Peder Anker delivers us the essential key to understanding our present crisis and a magisterial exploration of the catastrophic consequences of our all-too-human attempts to create paradise on Earth.'

Jimena Canales - historian of science and author of The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate that Changed our Understanding of Time and A Tenth of a Second: A History

‘With clarity, empathy and yet a sharp criticality, Peder Anker captures the long train of modern Norwegian ecological thought. Engaging activists from Thor Heyerdahl to Arne Naess, Anker shows how nationalism, internationalism, idealism, positivism and holism collided. Here is a rich, clear-eyed history of how the Norwegians reshaped modern ecological thought, successes and failures included. A terrific book.'

Peter Galison - Harvard University

‘Peder Anker's thought-provoking perspective highlights how Norway came to be an exporter of environmental values and of the concept of sustainability – in spite of limited adherence to such values at home.'

Jorgen Randers - BI Norwegian Business School

‘Peder Anker has written a fascinating story about how Norwegian scholar-activists exploited the ‘power of the periphery' to showcase Norway as an alternative environmentally-sound nation compared with the rest of the world. This book is an original contribution to the history of global environmentalism in general.'

Terje Tvedt - University of Bergen

‘… this volume is an important contribution to our knowledge about environmental developments of the past century,demonstrating a small nation’s place in the age of globalization.’

Elena Kochetkova Source: Technology and Culture

'… a very readable book, which is highly informative, clear and at the same time very easy to read due to its high source density in combination with extensive contextualization.'

Fabian Zimmer Source: translated from H-Soz-Kult

‘… Anker provides a thorough and engaging history of envi-ronmental thought and action in this formative period …’

Jenna M. Coughlin Source: Scandinavian Studies

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Full book PDF
  • The Power of the Periphery
    pp i-i
  • Studies in Environment and History - Series page
    pp ii-ii
  • The Power of the Periphery - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • How Norway Became an Environmental Pioneer for the World
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Epigraph
    pp v-vi
  • Contents
    pp vii-viii
  • Figures
    pp ix-x
  • Acknowledgments
    pp xi-xiv
  • “We Are As Gods”
    pp 1-8
  • 1 - The Power of the Periphery
    pp 9-29
  • 2 - The Ecologists
    pp 30-44
  • 3 - The Ecophilosophers
    pp 45-74
  • 4 - The Deep Ecologists
    pp 75-91
  • 5 - Environmental Studies
    pp 92-117
  • 6 - The Call for a New Ecoreligion
    pp 118-142
  • 7 - The Sustainable Society
    pp 143-173
  • 8 - The Acid Rain Debate
    pp 174-201
  • 9 - Our Common Future
    pp 202-229
  • The Alternative Nation
    pp 230-240
  • Bibliography
    pp 241-278
  • Index
    pp 279-285
  • Studies in Environment and History (continued from page ii) - Series page
    pp 286-288


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