Anthropocentrism and Well-being: A Way Out of the Lobster Pot?

Janet McIntyre

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    The paper is focused on exploring the following questions: How can policy makers develop agreement on (i) what constitutes and (ii) supports the well-being of the planet, rather than the gross domestic product of a nation state? How can we design Participatory Democracy and Systemic Governance to (i) support the appropriate distribution and consumption of resources and (ii) protect social and environmental diversity and justice? The paper discusses thinking and practice to test out 'technologies of humility' in the sense used by Jasonoff. It suggests the potential for a hybrid bricolage of laws and praxis to enable the transformation of our designs for living to support biospheres. Biospheres need to be understood as oceans, rivers, the air we breathe, the earth that supports the food chain and the universe of which we are a part. In other words, this reframed definition extends beyond the original definitions of that which was outside the boundaries of a nation state. Instead, it locates nation states within the regional biosphere, which sustains them. Caretaking needs to be rooted in many kinds of knowledge to: (i) 'De-centre' anthropocentricism (by drawing on the work of Rose Bird, Wynne and Mathews); and (ii) 'Address' the convergent social, cultural and economic crisis. The challenge is to 'promote' an ever extending or widening circle of solidarity to 'care for' the next generation of life. It also requires the creation of new global narratives arising out of a cross-pollination of spiritual ideas from a range of religious and spiritual practices. This appreciation of narratives could inform discursive engagement to help establish ethical processes to support well-being (Braun, et al.) at a post national level. This requires discursive engagement as well as participatory governance to enable accountability and whistleblowing on the misuse of power or resources.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)136-155
    Number of pages20
    JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
    Issue number2
    Early online date2013
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


    • Anthropocentricism
    • Biosphere
    • Hybridity
    • Narratives
    • Well-being


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