Ecocultures 2012: Transitions to Sustainability

17th – 18th of April 2012

The conference Ecocultures 2012 takes place at the University of Essex from the 17th to the 18th of April.
The aim of Ecocultures 2012 is to show, how communities can adapt successfully to social-ecological change and thus reach the maintenance of resilience and the enhancement of wellbeing. Ecocultures live sustainable and we can learn from them regarding our lifestyle and in order to deal with the changes we are about to encounter e.g. climate change and resource degradation. These immanent problems need to be faced on the level of individual behaviour, community actions and state-level responses as well as international governance.
Multi-disciplinary perspectives of the barriers and bridges encountered by Ecocultures and how they can contribute to a global transition to sustainability will be presented at the conference. Furthermore the potential of concepts for creative and sustainable adaption to the new conditions will be discussed.
At the University of Essex the Ecocultures research program has the task to examine the responding of traditional and newly emerging communities to these challenges. Sustainable lifestyles and possible ways for transition are analysed.
Ecocultures 2012 is supposed to bring together members of Ecocultures, researchers and policy makers in order to develop alternative ways of development.
Submissions from academics, policy makers as well as from development practitioners engaged in work on resilience and sustainability are invited. Possible themes for Papers are the following ones:

  • Case studies on communities successfully adapting to social-ecological change;
  • Historic examples of highly resilient communities and their current status;
  • Analyses of the ‘traditional’ practices contributing to sustainable lifestyles, the stresses to which these provide resilience, and the barriers and bridges to the continued practice of such traditional lifestyles in today’s world;
  • The emergence of ‘new’ Ecocultures, such as cultural revitalisation initiatives, ‘back to the land’ initiatives and the transition movement; the barriers and bridges to sustainability within these initiatives, the potential for their spread, their contribution to well-being and to social-ecological resilience at community level and beyond;
  • Critical analyses of current and alternative notions of ‘development’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘resilience’;
  • Analyses of struggles for resources: how do, for example, the extractive industries and multi-national corporations affect the sustainability of communities;
  • Conflicts between different notions and practices of ‘sustainability’;
  • Meta-analyses of the social, economic, political and cultural barriers and bridges to sustainability;
  • Analyses of the role played by current policies, economic and corporate initiatives for ‘sustainability’, including the potential for sustainable governance, the links between international trade and sustainable growth, and the potential role played by consumer awareness, environmental regulations, new methods of environmental valuation and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Deadline for paper proposals is the 16th of January 2012. They should be sent to Prof. Steffen Böhm ( and Zareen Bharucha ( with the subject ‘Ecocultures 2012’. Authors will be notified of acceptance by 30th January 2012.
For general inquiries, please email Zareen Bharucha (

By Janna

Janna was BA-student in cultural sciences at the Leuphana University Lueneburg, and did a 5-months internship at Cultura21 in the framework of the Leuphana PLUS program. Janna war Studentin der Angewandten Kulturwissenschaften an der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg und absolvierte im Rahmen des Leuphana Plus Programms ein fünfmonatiges Praktikum bei Cultura21.