“The Nature-Culture Trap: A Critique of Late 20th Century Global Paradigms of Environmental Change in Africa and Beyond”

The modernization, the declinist, and the inclinist paradigms of the late twentieth century, despite their differences, all tended to frame environmental change in a unilinear Nature-to-Culture fashion, which in turn entailed homogenizing the agency, process, and outcome of environmental change. This article examines the characteristics of each paradigm, as well as some of the paradoxes that have arisen in their wake. Finally, it looks to alternative approaches.