Wilderness Matters: Interstitial Ecologies of Meaning for a Wild Place
Protected area managers need enhanced comprehension of the significant constellations of meaning that gather about those areas. The purpose of this study is to describe how wild places are coconstituted in the world with the lives of the people involved and how their knowledge of the world is constructed collectively. Scholars examining the human dimensions of natural resources have not yet fully explored the important role of ecological embodiment in creating and sustaining wilderness areas. This study will examine the dimensions, imbrications, and tensions of embodied wilderness meaning. Through a close and fine-grained interpretation of wilderness embodiment, or wildhood, I show that wilderness areas are constituted by sociocultural significance that is gathered and shared in ecologies of meanings for people, places, and things. I relate the literature of wilderness meaning in terms of place studies and human geography and offer wildhood as a new realm of investigation. A conceptual framework highlights the useful theories of human being shared by Martin Heidegger. Integral ecology relates these theoretical variables, constructs, and concepts with traceable connections to the proposed research methodology. A qualitative method clearly incorporates Heideggerian philosophy into the interpretive phenomenological research design.Keywords: wildhood, wilderness meaning, environmental embodiment, eco-embodiment, eco-intercorporeality, place meaning, human dimensions of natural resources, protected area management.