1st Edition

Cultures of Sustainability and Wellbeing
Theories, Histories and Policies

ISBN 9780367271190
Published March 21, 2019 by Routledge
334 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

USD $56.95

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Book Description

 Cultures of Sustainability and Wellbeing: Theories, Histories and Policies examines and assesses the interdependence between sustainability and wellbeing by drawing attention to humans as producers and consumers in a post-human age. Why wellbeing ought to be regarded as essential to sustainable development is explored first from multifocal theoretical perspectives encompassing sociology, literary criticism and socioeconomics, second in relation to institutions and policies, and third with a focus on specific case studies across the world. Wellbeing and its sustainability are defined in terms of biological and cultural diversity; stages of advancement in science and technology; notions of citizenship and agency; geopolitical scenarios and environmental conditions.

Wellbeing and sustainability call for enquiries into human capacities in ontological, epistemological and practical terms. A view of sustainability that revolves around material and immaterial wellbeing is based on the assumption that life quality, comfort, happiness, security, safety always posit humans as both recipients and agents. Risk and resilience in contemporary societies define the intrinsically human ability to make and consume, to act and adapt, driving the search for and fruition of wellbeing. How to sustain the dual process of exploitation and regeneration is a task that requires integrated approaches from the sciences and the humanities, jointly tracing a worldwide cartography with clear localisations.

This book will be of great interest to students and researchers interested in sustainability through conceptual and empirical approaches including social theory, literary and cultural studies, environmental economics and human ecology, urbanism and cultural geography.

Table of Contents

Pillars and Circles: Wellbeing at the Core of Sustainability Paola Spinozzi and Massimiliano Mazzanti

Part I. Sustainable Wellbeing in Theory and History

Prologue Paola Spinozzi

I.1. Creating Capacities for Human Flourishing: An Alternative Approach to Human Development Paul James

I.2. The Incongruities of Sustainability: An Examination of the UN Earth Summit Declarations 1972-2012 Gonzalo Salazar

I.3. Slow Living and Sustainability: The Victorian Legacy Wendy Parkins

I.4. Innovation and Consumption in the Evolution of Capitalist Societies Pier Paolo Saviotti

1.5. In a Prescient Mode. (Un)Sustainable Societies in the Post/Apocalyptic Genre Paola Spinozzi

Part II. Policies and Institutions for Wellbeing

Prologue Massimiliano Mazzanti

II.1. Contextualising Sustainability: Socio-Economic Dynamics, Technology and Policy Massimiliano Mazzanti and Marianna Gilli

II.2. Social Equity and Ecological Sustainability through the Lens of Degrowth Valeria Andreoni

II.3. Institutionalist Climate Governance for Pleasant Cities and the Good Life Gjalt Huppes and Ruben Huele

II.4. Assessing Public Awareness about Biodiversity in Europe Anna Kalinowska

II.5. Is the Current Global Role of English Sustainable? Richard Chapman

Part III. Sustainable Wellbeing Via Habitat and Citizenship

Prologue Paola Spinozzi and Massimiliano Mazzanti

III.1. The Impact of Settlements on Urban River Basins and the Case of the Belém River in Curitiba, Brazil Gilda Cassilha, Marta Gabardo, Sylvia Leitão, and Zulma Schussel

III.2. Creative Social Innovation and Social Urbanism: The Case of Medellin Ana Elena Builes Vélez and María Florencia Guidobono

III.3. Long-term Visions and Ordinary Management: Post-Earthquake Reconstruction in the Italian Region of Emilia Gianfranco Franz

III.4. Urban Life and Climate Change at the Core of Political Dialogue: A Focus on Saint-Louis du Sénégal Adrien Coly, Fatimatou Sall, Mohamed Diatta C.B.C., and Chérif Samsédine Sarr

III.5. Is Ethno-tourism a Strategy of Sustainable Wellbeing? A Focus on Mapuche Entrepreneurs Gonzalo Valdivieso, Andrés Ried and Sofía Rojo

III.6. Japanese Castle Towns as Models for Contemporary Urban Planning Shigeru Satoh

III.7. Vietnam’s Pathway towards Sustainability: Stories Half-told Nhai Pham and Dan Tong

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Paola Spinozzi is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Ferrara. Her research focuses on the relationships between literature and visual art, science, utopia as a genre and sustainability.

Massimiliano Mazzanti is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Ferrara. He specialises in environmental policy, economics of innovation and waste management.


"Methodologically sophisticated and thematically wide-ranging, this innovative anthology examines the multiple links between planetary sustainability and human wellbeing. The contributors succeed admirably in presenting holistic alternatives to conventional forms of human development that balance social and ecological concerns."Manfred B. Steger, Professor of Sociology, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

"This comprehensive volume brings an entirely new perspective to debates on sustainability by linking a contemporary global view to historical considerations. In doing so it interrogates conventional wisdom, including that found in academic discussion, which too often supposes that contemporary capitalism is the only point of departure for human prospect in a time of species peril. The book rightly insists that the prize of human wellbeing is a cultural and historical project that demands an open and critical enquiry."Brendan Gleeson, Director of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, The University of Melbourne, Australia

"Spinozzi and Mazzanti demonstrate how the scope of interdisciplinary dialogue extends to devising holistic creative solutions for the future. The new view of sustainable development theorized and illustrated in the book incorporates global and local perspectives, focuses on social wellbeing and is grounded on a human development approach. The use of speculative literature to assess the representation of sustainable and unsustainable futures sets fertile ground for a stronger cooperation between the humanities and the sciences."Fátima Vieira, University of Porto, Portugal, and Coordinator of the ARUS Network - Advanced Research in Utopian Studies