Extinction, diversity, and endangerment

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter shifts in biological understanding of influencing the wider social, political, and cultural awareness of extinction and diversity shaping endangerment sensibility and reflects and reinforces broader cultural perceptions and valuations of diversity and endangerment. It shows particular extinction discourse implicated in a cultural and political ideology in Britain and the US supporting imperialism and downplayed the value of protecting species and people. Maffis paper focuses on a threat to linguistic diversity by characterizing the potential loss of endangered languages as an extinction crisis of unprecedented proportions. The upshot of the extinction work was the creation of a cottage industry in paleontological studies of mass extinction, and the legitimation of a new catastrophism. The chapter argues that the transformations in biologists' conceptions of the nature of extinction have influenced the way, Western societies have understood biological and cultural diversity, and the urgency those societies have felt regarding the protection of that diversity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEndangerment, Biodiversity and Culture
EditorsFernando Vidal, Nélia Dias
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781317538073
ISBN (Print)9781138847415
StatePublished - Jun 19 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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