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Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are Paperback – Jun 15 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (June 15 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159213579X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592135790
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #310,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"[Robbins] offers a clever exploration of the political ecology and actor network theory, and a sharp insight into the cynicism of capitalism in the form of the chemical industry. That is a lot for a slim, nicely illustrated and well-written book to achieve, but it does it with style and intelligence... [T]he book is readable and wide-ranging in its arguments...its analysis is relevant wherever suburban values extend... This book should be widely read and discussed." -Environmental Conservation

About the Author

Paul Robbins is professor of Geography at the University of Arizona and is known for his interdisciplinary views of how geography interrelates with other disciplines. He has written and edited several books including the best selling textbook "Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction" (Blackwell 2004) and the recent "Lawn People: How Grasses Weeds and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are" (Temple University Press 2007).

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was expecting a rebuke of the manicured lawn culture and a blueprint for alternative landscape management but clearly this was not the authors intent. Rather this is a somewhat scholarly treatise on the history of lawn culture from it's earliest days and the development of turf management science. I think the target audience here is not the ecologically concerned layperson, but rather agronomy students and people with an interest in urban planning and the history of turf management. There is little in the way of practical advice here regarding healthy alternatives to lawn monocultures. If one is looking for an historical perspective on this topic from someone who is clearly very knowledgeable in this field, perhaps this is the book to get. But if you want to get practical information on alternative lawn management strategies, I would look elsewhere.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a landscape architect I have long been a proponent of having less traditional, high maintenance, resource consuming, lawns. I have advocated use of trimmed lawn only where needed such as on sports fields and golf greens. On most large sites such as school grounds and roadways the maintenance costs could probably be greatly reduced just by not mowing areas that don't require it. I have also supported homeowners who broke the pattern of lawns in their neighbourhoods and had to deal with public censure or legal action. This book points out why the task has been so difficult. Lawns, it turns out, are a deeply socialized way of life with overtones of community solidarity and the need to fit in. They have been successfully marketed as a major economic generator by the lawn industries. The full discussion of issues is well presented in this interesting book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ad3d540) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ad540d8) out of 5 stars succinct and provocative Nov. 9 2008
By ingonyama - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an accessible but theoretically sophisticated study of American lawns, and the reasons why people who are anxious about the effects of lawn chemicals on themselves, their children and their pets (including a woman who put booties on her dog when its paws bled after it walked on a chemically-treated lawn, rather than stopping the chemical treatment!) continue to use lawn chemicals and obsess over having a monocultured turfgrass lawn. Robbins writes with a minimum of jargon and name-dropping -- any undergraduate could easily follow his arguments without much difficulty -- but also quietly engages with actor-network theory, Foucauldian and Gramscian notions of power, hegemony and subject formation, as well as putting ecology into political ecology. It's a book which could sit equally well on an undergraduate or graduate syllabus, which speaks both to its clarity and the sophistication of its analysis. Highly recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ad54324) out of 5 stars Interesting book Feb. 10 2013
By William F. Blake - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book and thought it would be totally lame. Turns out it's actually really interesting. The social aspects that go into a lawn culture extend far outside the boundaries of the green grass and are extremely intriguing. Definitely worth a read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ad542e8) out of 5 stars Well-written, easy to read, but I wanted more specifics. April 6 2015
By Alek Zapata - Published on
Format: Paperback
Robbins argues that the lawn itself has influenced its caretakers into being a certain type of person, and so lawn people may not actually have a choice when it comes to the use of chemicals in lawn care. He draws upon the social constructs created by our culture that guide, if not coerce, us into making such contradictory decisions as using chemicals while knowing they are potentially harmful; constructs such as the importance of public image and the interplay between industry/advertising/producers and consumers. Overall, Robbins does an excellent job of bringing up an entirely new perspective on the American Lawn, reversing the previous belief that it is an expression of the people, but rather we are an expression of the lawn. The book contained sufficient evidence to support the author’s position, but I would have liked for Robbins to discuss things like lake eutrophication or fertilizer related diseases in slightly greater depth.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ad547e0) out of 5 stars Like watching a documentary about death and stuff Oct. 12 2015
By TENBOUS - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ever feel a little vain about your home design? That's normal, but are your home maintenance strategies... well... realistic? Lawns- the fake boobs of american homes. Marketing to the insecure or exploitive toward caring community members? Lawns cost a lot and harm their prior natural environments through destruction, weed killers and fertilizers... in a trickle down manner. A read that reminds you why sociology is a source of educational entertainment. Like watching a documentary about death and stuff. The writing reminded me of freakenomics in numerous ways.
HASH(0x9ad54678) out of 5 stars Five Stars May 30 2015
By Benjamin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting read.