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Professor Kay Milton

Image: Kay Milton

BA (Durham), PhD (QUB)

Professor of Social Anthropology

Phone: +44 (0) 28 9097 3881

Research Interests

Professor Milton is Director of the Anthropology research network in the School of History and Anthropology. Her research interests include environmental and ecological anthropology: environmental activism as cultural practice; environmental discourse in local and  global contexts; the use of anthropological knowledge to address environmental issues; how human beings relate, through their cultural ideas and actions, to the non-human world; environmental perception and understanding through emotional and cognitive processes, the role of religion in human–environment relations.

Emotion and motivation: how people develop emotional attachments and commitments, how they come to care about things and are motivated to act; the role of emotion in cognition, consciousness and intersubjectivity; interdisciplinary approaches to emotion and the development of an ecological perspective.

Human–animal relations: perceptions and cultural understandings of non-human animals; perceptions of personhood and intention; sensual, perceptual and emotional bases of interaction with non-human animals; personhood, individualism and the implications for the ethical treatment of human and non-human beings.

Current Research

Emotional attachments to land and landscape, particularly in the context of travel and tourism; how tourists experience the places they visit, what motivates them to visit, how their emotional and cognitive experiences of landscapes are affected by the management and interpretation of scenic landscapes, and particularly by the involvement of indigenous communities; a comparative study focusing mainly on the UK and Australia.

Human–animal relations in the context of wildlife conservation and management and eco-tourism, examining the relationship between perceptions of personhood in animals and their treatment, at the level of species and populations, as resources to be managed or pests to be controlled.

Continuing theoretical work on emotions and motivation; the development of an interdisciplinary discourse on emotions; emotions as an ecological mechanism connecting human persons to their human and non-human environment.

Select Publications

'Emotion (or Life, The Universe, Everything)' in Helena Wulff (ed.) The Emotions: A Cultural Reader (Berg, 2007).

(Ed. with Svašek, M.), Mixed emotions: anthropological studies of feeling (Oxford: Berg, 2005).

‘Anthropomorphism or egomorphism? The perception of non-human animals by human ones’, in J. Knight (ed.) Animals in person (Oxford: Berg, 2005).

Loving nature: towards an ecology of emotion, (London and New York: Routledge, 2002).

'Ducks out of water: nature conservation as boundary maintenance', in J. Knight (ed.) Natural enemies: people-wildlife conflicts in anthropological perspective, (Oxford: Berg, 2000).

Environmentalism and cultural theory: the role of anthropology in environmental discourse, (London and New York: Routldege, 1996).