Nature as a constellation of activities: Movement, rhythm, and perception in an Italian National Park

Paolo Gruppuso* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Drawing on the concept of taskscape, the paper explores activities of environmental interpretation in an Italian national park. Taskscape is the array of rhythmic movements, tasks and activities that humans and nonhumans perform in the process of dwelling. Accordingly, the paper presents environmental interpretation as particular mode of action and perception that shapes conservation areas as environments understood as realms of nature. By extending the concept of taskscape, and adopting a performative perspective, the paper also sheds light on ethical and cognitive considerations. Ethics emerges along with the activities interpreters carry out within the landscape; it is performed, hence it is constitutive of a taskscape of conservation as a process in which particular ways of moving, hence perceiving, generate particular ways of knowing, hence understanding, and vice versa. The conclusion suggests that nature in conservation areas emerges as a constellation of activities resulting from a particular way of dwelling and performing a certain environment according to a specific rhythm, and framed within a particular ethics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-645
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Anthropology
Issue number3
Early online date30 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

I want to thank the environmental interpreters I worked with during fieldwork, who gave me the opportunity to join their activities. I also want to thank the anonymous reviewers and the editors for their insightful and helpful comments. When drafting this article I also benefitted from stimulating discussions with colleagues of the Art of Judgement working group in Department III at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, that I joined during fall 2018. Special Thank also goes to the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, that provided a comfortable environment for finalising the article, and to the University of Aberdeen for funding Open Access fees for this article.


  • environmental anthropology
  • environmental interpretation
  • conservation areas
  • performativity
  • Agro Pontino
  • anthropologie environnementale
  • médiation environnementale
  • espaces protégés
  • performativité
  • marais pontins


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