Special Issue "After the An­thro­po­cene: Time and Mo­bil­ity"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pasi Heikkurinen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Management, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
Interests: sustainability; degrowth; nature; technology; management; phenomenology
Dr. Toni Ruuska
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Management, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
Interests: political ecology and economy; critical theory; self-sufficiency; capitalism; social movements
Prof. Anu Valtonen
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland, FI-96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
Interests: Anthropocene; critical theories; post-qualitative methodologies; organization; markets; naturecultures; embodiment
Dr. Outi Rantala
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Multidimensional Tourism Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland, FI-96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
Interests: human–nature relationships; mobilities; new materialism; ethnography

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sooner or later, the Earth will reach the end of ‘the Anthropocene’. As the effects of changing climatic regimes impose greater effects on earthbound habitation and the known ways of being in the present geological epoch, we would like to consider how humans and/or socionature might and should respond. Could we, for example, imagine a time after the Anthropocene, when humans would no longer be the dominant species on the planet? And if so, what would this imply for social organization? Could we consider the notion of the ‘late Anthropocene’ relevant for discussing the present when humanity—albeit in different place-specific ways—is forced to adapt in radical ways to the challenges that it faces?

The scholarly debate to date has paid relatively little attention to this space–time. Instead, the discussion continues to revolve around questions such as when the human-dominated epoch began; what to call it; who or what is to blame for it; and how we might respond to it in the immediate future. While these questions certainly deserve consideration, effort should also be aimed at questions of how the Anthropocene might come to an end (as a discourse and as an epoch); what post-Anthropocene might look like; and what this might signify for organizing social change, and/or caring for the nonhuman nature.

This Special Issue focuses on questions of time and mobility, insofar as these concepts enrich our understandings of what comes after the Anthropocene and how to exit the Anthropocene. We seek manuscripts that explore time and mobility after the Anthropocene. In relation to time and/or mobility, possible topics/lenses are:

  • Peace, conflict resolution, and nonviolence;
  • Basic human and nonhuman needs (food in particular);
  • Human–nature relationships, naturecultures, and socionatures;
  • Utopias and dystopias, as well as mixtures of these two;
  • Social movements and resistance;
  • Nomadism, immigration, refugees;
  • Collapse, survivalism, and anarcho-primitivism;
  • Neo-indigenous imaginaries and ecovillages;
  • Technology and tools;
  • State, governance, policy, and law;
  • Cosmology, spirituality, and religion.

Just as the Anthropocene marked a global matter-energetic shift, the end of the human epoch also marks significant changes in the deep geological time of the Earth’s history. Different temporal perspectives and rhythms might well play a role in how the time after the Anthropocene will unfold. There is a need to begin to conceive time not only in anthropocentric terms, but more holistically, e.g., in terms of rocks. Thus, instead of merely seeking to save the world for future human generations, consideration and care for other animals, plants, and rocks—constituents of the Earth—opens up a different time horizon.

A possibility is that the on-going mass movement of people and other earthbound beings will both be an outcome and reason for the new epoch. Furthermore, the travel of earthbound beings beyond the boundaries of Earth—the exploitation of space—is an issue calling for critical reflection. Finally, the mobility of deep geological formations of the Earth merits consideration as well; the movement of lithospheric plates has historically changed the course of life on the planet in a remarkable way. The trouble of moving, living, and dying together in the late Anthropocene necessarily brings about new practical and theoretical questions of power, as the recent formulations of ‘geopower’, for instance, cogently demonstrate.

Dr. Pasi Heikkurinen
Dr. Toni Ruuska
Prof. Anu Valtonen
Dr. Outi Rantala
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • time
  • mobility
  • nature
  • culture
  • sustainability

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Domination, Power, Supremacy: Confronting Anthropolitics with Ecological Realism
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2617; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072617 (registering DOI) - 26 Mar 2020
Abstract
In this article, we study politics as domination. From our point of view, domination, especially in the Anthropocene, has had two vital components—power and supremacy. In order to dominate, one has to have power over others. In addition, the politics of domination, such [...] Read more.
In this article, we study politics as domination. From our point of view, domination, especially in the Anthropocene, has had two vital components—power and supremacy. In order to dominate, one has to have power over others. In addition, the politics of domination, such as colonial oppression of Latin America, has required reasoning, justification, and legitimation, often connected to superiority (because of religion, society, or civilization) from the oppressor’s end. Past and present political ideologies and programs, such as colonialism, imperialism, but also welfare state capitalism, neoliberalism and increasingly popular Green New Deal are examples of what we call “anthropolitics”, an anthropocentric approach to politics based on domination, power, and supremacist exploitation. In contrast to the prevailing anthropolitics, this article discusses post-Anthropocene politics, characterized by localization and decentralization, as well as a steep reduction of matter–energy throughput by introducing a theoretical frame called ecological realism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue After the An­thro­po­cene: Time and Mo­bil­ity)
Open AccessArticle
Energy Intensity and Human Mobility after the Anthropocene
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2376; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062376 - 18 Mar 2020
Abstract
After the Anthropocene, human settlements will likely have less available energy to move people and things. This paper considers the feasibility of five modes of transportation under two energy-constrained scenarios. It analyzes the effects transportation mode choice is likely to have on the [...] Read more.
After the Anthropocene, human settlements will likely have less available energy to move people and things. This paper considers the feasibility of five modes of transportation under two energy-constrained scenarios. It analyzes the effects transportation mode choice is likely to have on the size of post-Anthropocene human settlements, as well as the role speed and energy play in such considerations. I find that cars, including battery-electric cars, are not feasible under a highly energy-constrained scenario, that buses, metros, and walking are feasible but will limit human settlement size, and that cycling is likely the only mode of transportation that would make suburbs possible in an energy-constrained post-Anthropocene scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue After the An­thro­po­cene: Time and Mo­bil­ity)
Open AccessArticle
The Post-Anthropocene Diet: Navigating Future Diets for Sustainable Food Systems
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2355; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062355 - 18 Mar 2020
Abstract
This article examines how future diets could reduce the environmental impacts of food systems, and thus, enable movement into the post-Anthropocene. Such non-anthropocentric diets are proposed to address global food systems challenges inherent in the current geological epoch known as the Anthropocene—a period [...] Read more.
This article examines how future diets could reduce the environmental impacts of food systems, and thus, enable movement into the post-Anthropocene. Such non-anthropocentric diets are proposed to address global food systems challenges inherent in the current geological epoch known as the Anthropocene—a period when human activity is the dominant cause of environmental change. Using non-anthropocentric indigenous worldviews and object-oriented ecosophy, the article discusses changes in ontologies around diets to consider choices made in the present for sustainable future food systems. This article conceptually addresses, how can pre-Anthropocene ontologies guide an exit of current approaches to diets? Considering temporality, what post-Anthropocene ontologies are possible in future diets for sustainable food systems? Through the ontological positions defining three distinct temporalities, considerations for guiding future diets in(to) the post-Anthropocene are proposed. Indigenous ontologies are presented as pre-Anthropocene examples that depict humans and non-humans in relational diets. Underlying Anthropocene ontologies define current unsustainable diets. These ontologies are described to present the context for the food systems challenges this article aims to address. A post-Anthropocene illustration then employs object-oriented ecosophy along with indigenous ontologies as theoretical foundations for shifting from the dominant neoliberal paradigm in current ontologies. Ontologically-based dietary guidelines for the post-Anthropocene diet present the ontological turns, consideration of temporality, and outline technological orientations proposed for sustainable future food systems. This is a novel attempt to integrate non-anthropocentric theories to suggest possible futures for human diets in order to exit the Anthropocene epoch. These non-anthropocentric ontologies demonstrate how temporal considerations and relational worldviews can be guidelines for transforming diets to address public health concerns, the environmental crisis, and socioeconomic challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue After the An­thro­po­cene: Time and Mo­bil­ity)
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