Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Forest and Conservation Science

Department or School/College

W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

William T. Borrie

Commitee Members

Keith Bosak, Stephen F. McCool, Michael E. Patterson, Michel Valentin


affect, everyday life, non-representational theory, wilderness


University of Montana


Wilderness is integral to the fabric of American culture. With the National Wilderness Preservation System, America has a measure against which everyday life may be compared. But there remains concern over disconnection between members of society and wilderness. Nonrepresentational theory (non-rep) is a rich and recent style of scientific practice that holds potential. Non-rep places emphasis on habitual practices and everyday life. Those interested in human affection for and connection with wilderness and the outdoors may find non-rep intellectually and practically refreshing. One aspect of this study offers a macrostructural analysis of the levels, layers, and sub-layers on which non-representational theory is founded. The analysis is intended to serve as a map for future outdoor recreation scholars interested in non-representational research. A great strength of non-rep is its capacity to inform research paths into the dynamics of human–nature connections. This study clearly marks one such path.

Affect is a popular theoretical construct that has received substantial scholarly attention in nonrepresentational theory and elsewhere through the so-called affective turn. To reveal insight into the concept of affect, another aspect of this study focuses on wilderness affect through a nonrepresentational theoretical lens. Research indicates that societal and cultural forces play an influential role in wilderness relationships. What’s lacking is a focus on how wilderness may affectively influence, build, or sustain human–wilderness relations at the personal rather than societal scale. Through the performance of non-representational research methods, 15 people participated in a study of how wilderness affect occurs in everyday life. For one week following a visit to the Moosehorn Wilderness Area participants kept a diary and camera to take notes and photographs when wilderness feelings or ideas formed. The diary-photograph, diary-interview method was augmented with exemplary and evocative anecdotes. The results of the study show some of the ways the emergence of affect becomes perceptible. It offers an example for how affect-oriented inquiry can be carried out and thereby can inform further outdoor recreation research. Wilderness affect is suggested as a different way of thinking about the potential to appreciate and respond to the differences that emerge from relations with wild nature. The study helps focus further inquiry into human–wilderness relations.



© Copyright 2020 Mark Lane Douglas