Various approaches are currently rethinking the role of human life in the ecosphere, highlighting the interconnectedness between the social and the ecosphere and posing new ethical questions. In our panel, we invite studies on the relation between ecological challenges and social change.
Currently, various approaches are engaged in rethinking the role of human life in the ecosphere, indicating increasing attention being paid by practitioners, researchers, and philosophers to the interconnectedness between the social, the ecological, and the spiritual sphere. At the same time, problems of environmental justice and/or public conversation policies often become a contested ethical issue between local communities and other major political forces, shaping both social lives and places through a range of different power relations. At the same time, anthropological research on new forms of environmental activism related to concepts such as bioregionalism, permaculture principles, 'degrowth' (Latouche) and 'deep ecology' (Naess) gives new inputs on global ethical challenges and progressively gains more visibility within the discipline. In our panel, we invite studies that discuss practices of environmental justice and engage with creative alternatives that rethink the complex relations between social and ecological life. We want to reflect both on the effects, strategies and implications of environmental activism and on cases where there seems to be a clash between what people do with their places and general ecological and ethical concerns. How are conventional conversation policies (such the management of nature parks) affecting social life? How are they contested? How can environmental justice activism (such as in ecovillages) mobilize new social forces? To what extent can new forms of environmental activism (such as the movement for degrowth) produce social change? How can scholars position themselves toward environmental activism, often caught in an ambivalent relation of academic distance and more or less openly expressed sympathy for the causes?