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Environmental Ethics

Volume 19, Issue 4, Winter 1997

Mick Smith
Pages 339-353

Against the Enclosure of the Ethical Commons
Radical Environmentalism as an “Ethics of Place”

Inspired by recent anti-roads protests in Britain, I attempt to articulate a radical environmental ethos and, at the same time, to produce a cogent moral analysis of the dialectic between environmental destruction and protection. In this analysis, voiced in terms of a spatial metaphoric, an “ethics of place,” I seek to subvert the hegemony of modernity’s formal systematization and codification of values while still conserving something of modernity’s critical heritage: to reconstitute ethics in order to counter the current enclosure of the moral field within economistic and legal bureaucratic frameworks and institutions.