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Concept, text and culture

Sustainability is a notoriously fraught and slippery term, and yet one that is now well-established in mainstream usage across the contemporary world. While sustainability is widely discussed and theorised across range of disciplines, this book sets out to consider what innovations literary scholarship might bring to the sustainability debate, and indeed what sustainability as a concept might bring to literary scholarship. Putting forward a range of essays by leading and upcoming scholars, this book takes a non-prescriptive and critically reflective stance towards the problem of sustainability – a stance we describe as critical sustainability. Essays in this collection accordingly undertake a range of approaches, from applying tools of literary enquiry in order to interrogate sustainability’s paradoxes, to investigating the ways in which literature envisages sustainability or plays out its tropes. Overall, this book seeks to demonstrate how sustainability’s difficulties might open up a productive opportunity for interrogation and exploration of the kind that literary scholars and ecocritics are ideally placed to carry out.

Universities have historically generated knowledge outside of specific local contexts. These pure research methodologies produce knowledge that is carefully partitioned from the practical realities of a phenomenon. This book suggests a world in peril requires us to question this approach, particularly in the field of environmental sustainability. Environmental health affects everyone and requires integrated and interdisciplinary answers to complex issues. This requires bold action and a radical take on the world. Derived from the Latin radix or “root”, a radical spirit is one that searches for meaning and affirms community.” The community, in this case, is an environment that supports diverse life.

Open Access (free)
Ecopoetics, enjoyment and ecstatic hospitality
Kate Rigby

3 Deep sustainability: ecopoetics, enjoyment and ecstatic hospitality Kate Rigby Mind the gap! In 2007 an article appeared in the science journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution with the witty title, ‘Mind the Sustainability Gap’. The gap in question refers especially to the ecological dimension of the sustainability agenda and concerns the chasm that continues to yawn ever wider between ‘what we know needs to be done and what is actually being done’ to avert catastrophic climatic and environmental change (Fischer et al. 2007: 621). While the authors

in Literature and sustainability
Blackpool, Casanova, State of Play
Robin Nelson

8 Singularity sustained Blackpool, Casanova, State of Play This final chapter considers three examples of recent British TV drama which reflect, notable strands in British television and develop them for new times. The first, Blackpool (BBC1, 2004), uses the device of popular songs both lip-synched and sung by the characters, as made famous by Dennis Potter. Like Potter, writer Peter Bowker uses pop music not only for its intrinsic attractions but also to add density to the drama, with lyrics commenting upon the action and inviting comparative reflection on the

in State of play
Sandra Streed

6 Sustainable local food systems and environmental sustainability Sandra Streed We begin with a simple truth. How we eat determines how the earth is used. (Wendell Berry, 1990) B erry’s statement provokes questions about the connections and relationships among food, our earth, and our environment. Where does food come from? Where and how is it grown? How is it harvested, packaged, delivered to us? What is its value and what is its cost? Is it a sustainable system? What food systems are in place? What is a sustainable food system? What is sustainability? What

in University engagement and environmental sustainability
Hugh Atkinson

7 Regeneration and sustainability Introduction This chapter will be divided into three sections. First, there will be an analysis of the concept of sustainability, its application to local communities and what criteria have to be met if we are to achieve sustainable communities. Second, there will be a focus on key strategies at the both the national and local level to regenerate local areas and communities. The spotlight here will be on both physical and social regeneration and as such will be set within the context of our earlier discussion on the nature and

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
On last animals and future bison
Joshua Schuster

5 Sustainability after extinction: on last animals and future bison Joshua Schuster It has been well documented recently that there is a noticeable rise in the rate of extinction across all plant and animal kingdoms. Several conservation biologists have indicated that current extinction rates are now between 100 and 1,000 times expected or background rates of extinction.1 The rise of extinction rates in the past few hundred years can be situated in parallel to the rise of scientific knowledge concerning the history of extinctions that stretch from recent times

in Literature and sustainability
The sense of an ending in Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods
Adeline Johns-Putra

9 The unsustainable aesthetics of sustainability: the sense of an ending in Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods Adeline Johns-Putra Jeanette Winterson’s 2007 novel, The Stone Gods, is a critique of progress, both in the general sense of movement, journeying, or going forward, and in the specialised sense of human development, particularly the privileging of economic and scientific improvement that is often called the myth or narrative of progress. In the spirit of so many of Winterson’s novels, The Stone Gods places its several protagonists on journeys, most

in Literature and sustainability
Crystal Tremblay and Sarah Amyot

25 Participatory sustainable waste ­management project in Brazil Crystal Tremblay and Sarah Amyot Context People who live off materials recovered from the waste stream exist in every corner of the world. However, these recyclers are among the most exploited and socially and economically excluded people. Recyclers face enormous stigmatization, discrimination and marginalization. This project was established to focus on participatory waste management as an opportunity to generate income and to improve the quality of life of informal recyclers (called catadores in

in Knowledge, democracy and action
Mandakini Pant

11 Mobilizing and strengthening knowledge for sustainable development in India Mandakini Pant University–community partnerships are based on the understanding that: (a) academics/researchers, practitioners (CSOs) and community members share a commonality of purpose for effecting sustainable development by producing knowledge to be used for the practical purpose of policy change and developmental interventions, contributing to theoretical elaboration and empowering communities through knowledge dissemination; and (b) they can be complementary to each other in

in Knowledge, democracy and action