Ethnoecology in Pluricultural Contexts: Theoretical and Methodological Contributions

  • Julio A. Hurrell
  • Pablo C. Stampella
  • María B. Doumecq
  • María L. Pochettino
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


This chapter is a contribution to current ethnoecology from a complex perspective, through a revision of the presuppositions that constitute its theoretical–methodological framework. The systemic approach of ecology understood as a science of synthesis based on relationships between the organism and its environment is discussed. The complex thinking applied to biocultural ecology, based on the relationships between the people and their environment is also discussed, including a reflection about the dissociation between nature and culture, and its conceptual implications. Ethnoecology as the study of local people knowledge system about their own relationships with their environment poses a discussion on sciences and ethnosciences, and its relationships with ecology and biocultural ecology. The reflection about the relationships between the observer and the observed people implies a discussion upon the researcher’s presence in his own research, and how he manages his thinking categories. The role of interviews as communication systems in which the generated knowledge is embodied in actions (discourses and behaviors) is revalued. Ultimately, three cases for the Rio de la Plata riverside (Buenos Aires province, Argentina) are presented. These cases illustrate how the local people identify and value the environmental changes in the pluricultural contexts of the urban areas, and how the obtained results have meaning in the theoretical–methodological framework developed. In conclusion, complex thinking allows us to construct adequate explanations for complex phenomena that ethnoecology tries to explain, and to avoid reductionisms.

Key words

Ethnoecology Complexity Presuppositions Local knowledge system Environmental changes Río de la Plata Riverside Argentina 



The authors acknowledge Ulysses P. Albuquerque for his support and generosity, Alejandro C. Pizzoni for critically reading and making opportune comments on the manuscript, the interviewees that contributed disinterestedly with their knowledge during the research development, and the LEBA staff who collaborated in the field work. Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), Fondo para la Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (FONCyT), and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina, provided financial support for the studies carried out.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julio A. Hurrell
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pablo C. Stampella
    • 1
    • 2
  • María B. Doumecq
    • 1
    • 2
  • María L. Pochettino
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Etnobotánica y Botánica Aplicada (LEBA), Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo (FCNM)Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP)La PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)La PlataArgentina

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