The tropical backyard: performing environmental difference

Law, Lisa (2019) The tropical backyard: performing environmental difference. Geographical Research, 57 (3). pp. 331-343.

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Abstract

This paper extends debates investigating the importance of domestic yards and gardens in shaping identities and the everyday practices and performances of human–nature interaction in a tropical city. It presents findings from a pilot study investigating backyards in a small but ethnically diverse neighbourhood in Cairns,Australia—a site that raises questions about the normative constructions of“nature”in much of the literature. The paper explores how Cairns residents make sense of their backyards, especially in terms of how they relate to them as“tropical”.Living in Cairns means managing excess water during the rainy season, dealing with new kinds of pests, and being critically conscious of the temperate bias of Australian gar-den retailers and house/garden magazines. The paper frames these experiences within a longer tradition of tropicality or a (western) way of making sense of/imagining tropical regions and environmental difference. In so doing, it opens up a new cultural geography of the suburbs, displaces normative constructions of“nature”and shows how the legacies of European colonialism still play out in a dominant Australian culture.

Item ID: 58962
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1745-5871
Keywords: nature; postcolonial; environmental difference; tropics; backyards; Cairns, Australia
Copyright Information: © 2019 Institute of Australian Geographers
Funders: James Cook University
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2019 05:18
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160403 Social and Cultural Geography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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