On sustainability and materiality: Homo faber, a new approach

Emilia Ferraro, Louise Anne Reid

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper explicitly engages with recent debates in Ecological Economics on what mode of humanity and person the sustainability project requires (e.g. Becker, 2006; Siebenhüner, 2000) and responds to calls to widen our understanding of the human being beyond homo economicus (e.g. Bina and Guedes Vaz, 2011). Using the example of the increasing attention to well-being, both within policy and academic circles, we seek to contribute to current critical considerations of ‘the sustainable person’ (Becker, 2010, 2012). We do this by incorporating often neglected perspectives fromdisciplines rooted in the Arts and Humanities – specifically anthropology and philosophy – introducing to debates on sustainability the notion of ‘homo faber’. Our aimis threefold: (1) to invite creative thinking about the role thatmateriality and practice play in the constitution of alternative notions of ‘being’; (2) to soften the anthropocentrism of western worldviews by considering the possibility of a different mode of humanity based upon “connection rather than separation, interdependence rather than autonomy” (Gibson-Graham, 2011:2), and (3) to encourage deeper reflection about the need for, and the challenge of interdisciplinary sustainability research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)125-131
    Number of pages7
    JournalEcological Economics
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


    • making and sustainability


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