‘Progressive ranching’ and wrangling the wind as ecocultural identity maintenance in the Anthropocene

Authored by: Casper G. Bendixsen , Trevor J. Durbin , Jakob Hanschu

Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138478411
eBook ISBN: 9781351068840
Adobe ISBN:


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In Chapter 10 of the Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity, Bendixsen, Durbin, and Hanschu strategically explore a case of a rancher on a multigenerational Texas cattle ranch as he and his family consider installing commercial wind turbines. The case study exhibits ways in which considerations of identity should examine ways that identity maintenance occurs during this time of universal but unevenly distributed unmooring of cultural and ecological coordinates from previously relatively stable Holocene conditions. The ranch serves as an example of ecocultural identity maintenance through what the rancher and his family consider ‘progressive ranching’ strategies, where maintenance results from both innovative and conservative relationships with technology and ethical commitments to a stewardship of horses, cattle, grassland, and kin. Central to ‘progressive ranching’ as protective of an ecocultural identity is a particular way of relating domains of techne, including technologies and techniques, and ethical commitments to stewardship within an oikos, composed of ecological and economic management of the ranch. The authors argue that both new technologies and traditional techniques form a ‘temporal cocoon’ that seemingly insulates the ranch from the destabilizing effects of the Anthropocene.

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