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For the Wild explores the ways in which the commitments of radical environmental and animal-rights activists develop through powerful experiences with the more-than-human world during childhood and young adulthood. The book addresses the question of how and why activists come to value nonhuman animals and the natural world as worthy of protection. Emotions and memories of wonder, love, compassion, anger, and grief shape activists’ protest practices and help us understand their deep-rooted dedication to the planet and its creatures. Drawing on analyses of activist art, music, and writings, as well as interviews and participant-observation in activist communities, Sarah M. Pike delves into the sacred duties of these often misunderstood and marginalized groups with openness and sensitivity.
Sarah M. Pike is Professor of Comparative Religion at California State University, Chico, and the author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community and New Age and Neopagan Religions in America.
“Original and engaging, For the Wild provides a much-needed primer on the radical environmental and animal-rights activist movements—movements that are highly relevant today and can be expected to grow in decades to come. There is no book that I’m aware of that covers this material with the ethnographic depth and nuance provided here.”—Adrian Ivakhiv, Professor of Environmental Thought and Culture, University of Vermont
“Radical environmentalists are often demonized by both the media and law-enforcement officials. Here at last is a work that does them justice. In this well-written and documented book, Sarah Pike gives ethnographic voice to a number of radical environmentalists—many of whom have gone to jail—and she reveals that the actions of such individuals are often heroic acts of love. This remarkable book makes insightful contributions to our understanding of human relationships to the nonhuman world and to the larger study of religion, nature, and ecology.”—David L. Haberman, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Indiana