Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Wolf Lost & Found: Reframing Human-Wildlife Coexistence with the Arts
by Grelock-Yusem, Susan Michelle, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2019, 164; 13806376
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative research was motivated by the desire to understand how conservation work can engage our psychic connection to the more-than-human. The work used grounded theory and phenomenological methodologies; data was gathered with interviews and arts-based inquiry and analyzed through the lenses of depth psychologically oriented ecopsychology and community psychology. Participants included artists, storytellers, and biologists who have created work about wolves and live in the southern portion of the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor in North America. The research specifically explored what calls artists to create work about wolves, and how their work expresses a sense of interconnection with wolves. The findings suggested that when an artist has a strong sensitivity to the more-than-human, their art-making gives them a channel to express this and supports the development of their individual identity. Additionally, four key themes arose in the dialogues with the artists: embracing a sense of community, providing context, connecting with place, and playing with the Western cultural boundary between humans and other animals. Conservation projects could benefit from these findings by consciously embracing these same ideas in their work using what this research defines as Critical Conservation Communication.” While it is impossible to prove that art directly contributes to conservation goals, this work proposes that art can remind us of our connection to other animals and the life beyond human-constructed reality. This imaginal reconstruction of an ecological orientation can be an ally to conservation goals in Western culture.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Phillips, Wendy
Commitee: Ciofalo, Nuria, McLean, Margot
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, & Ecopsychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ecology, Communication, Psychology
Keywords: Arts, Conservation communication, Ecopsychology, Interconnection, Psychosocial accompaniment, Wolves
Publication Number: 13806376
ISBN: 978-0-438-92631-8
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