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Reconceptualizing the ‘Anthropos’ in the Anthropocene: Integrating the social sciences and humanities in global environmental change research

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Gisli Palsson
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
  • Sverker Sörlin
  • John Marks
  • Bernard Avril
  • Carole Crumley
  • Heide Hackmann
  • Poul Holm
  • John Ingram
  • Mercedes Pardo Buendía
  • Rifka Weehuizen
Journal publication date04/2013
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Number of pages11
Early online date27/12/12
Original languageEnglish


There is growing recognition that humans are faced with a critical and narrowing window of opportunity to halt or reverse some of the key indicators involved in the environmental crisis. Given human activities’ scale and impact, as well as the overly narrow perspectives of environmental research’s dominant natural sciences, a major effort is necessary to place the perspectives and insights of the humanities’ and social sciences’ perspectives and insights at the forefront. Such effort will require developing integrated approaches, projects, and institutions that truly do so. This article’s goal is to help mobilize the social sciences and the humanities on the topic of sustainability transitions, but also call for a meaningful research agenda to acknowledge the profound implications of the advent of the Anthropocene epoch. We formulate the need for an innovative research agenda based on a careful consideration of the changing human condition as linked to global environmental change. The humanities and social sciences will need to change and adapt to this pressing, historic task.