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Accepted Paper:

Anthropology, utopianism, and ecotopia  
Joshua Lockyer (Washington University in St. Louis)

Paper long abstract:

We are in a utopian moment. A variety of social, ecological, and environmental crises suggest that the time is ripe for utopian reimaginings of the world, with all of the potentials and pitfalls that such utopian reimaginings entail. Indeed, the widely promoted concept of sustainability is ultimately utopian in nature; it is the good place that we must strive for but also a place that may not actually exist except in theory. This paper will explore anthropology's engagement with utopian and utopianism, drawing particularly on Richard Fox's work on Gandhian utopia and Eugene Andersons's work on ecotopia. It will suggest that anthropology's relevance to a world in crisis mode can be boosted by adopting a solutions-focused approach and engaging with movements grounded in ecotopian visions of sustainability - bioregionalism, permaculture, and ecovillages - and their practical attempts to achieve those visions.

Panel W019
Crisis, environmental anthropology, and the garden: local resilience, sustainable living and alternative food production
  Session 1