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Futures: fostering new potentials
THINK: Sustainability continues to be an evolving, ambiguous and malleable concept, despite its recent co-option as a slogan for so-called ‘green’ economic development. The irony of the situation, as Corcoran (2010, p. xii) suggests, is that ‘sustainability has become the metanarrative of our time- while at the same time sustainability has become a diminishing prospect.’ There exists a pervasive disconnect between the substantial discourse around sustainability in the contexts of politics, business and culture, and the actual progress that is being made toward sustainable futures. This calls for a re-defining and re-imagining of sustainability as both a concept and a process of cultural change.
Since the Brundlandt report released by the United Nations in 1987, understandings of sustainability have often focused on the capacity for social, economic and environmental systems to support the continuous growth of human development. Posthumanist theory challenges such human-centred approaches which perpetuate a deep-seated belief in 'man' as the measure of all things. Rather than placing the human subject as the master of his or her environment, posthumanism offers an eco-centric mode of thinking and action which values the agency of the ecological collective over that of the human individual. Posthumanism is not about negating or denying our humanity, but rather about affirming the entangled connections between humans, animals, environments, technologies, materials and more. In this way, a posthumanist approach to sustainability hinges on visionary thinking and action which honours humanity's ethical obligation to the collective worlds of the future.
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