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About Human Ecology

Human Ecology is an interdisciplinary academic discipline that studies the interaction between human societies, their socio-cultural-economic context and ecological environment, along different scales in time and space with emphasis on global processes influencing local activities. The studies and research are targeted towards advancing the knowledge for sustainable development in the era of human induced global environmental change.

Human Ecology provides a critical framework for sustainability research and social sustainability assessments by emphasizing the need to analyze the causes of the fundamental unsustainability of the prevailing system at global, regional, national and individual scales, with an emphasis on economic growth funded on material consumption as the key to advancing societal well-being.
Other components in the framework are identification of existing power and governance structures, transdisciplinary knowledge integrating academic and traditional ecological knowledge, environmental justice, resource accessibility and involvement of all actors and multiple interests in resource use and landscape management. Environmental conflicts are analyzed with the above dimensions taken into account.

Current research focuses on the overarching theme of sustainable development (Global north and Global south perspectives) in a wider context of global environmental change including climate change. This research, performed in the form of doctoral theses and research projects and programs, includes three focal themes:

  • Conflicts in land, water, mineral and other resource use in rural and coastal areas, e.g. with regard to food and energy production, natural resource conservation and management, effects on livelihoods, changing practices of resource use in production and consumption, etc.
  • Sustainable urban and peri-urban development, e.g. with regard to resource use, consumption, transport and mobility issues, land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services etc.
  • Theoretical dimensions of sustainable development emphasizing social and economic sustainability, e.g. processes of globalization, growth and degrowth of the consumer society, equity issues on resource use including gender, interface between natural and cultural resources, knowledge production in the climate change regime, etc.

The interdisciplinary construction of School of Global Studies is beneficial for research collaboration between Human Ecology and the in-house disciplines Social Anthropology and Peace and Development on the themes above.

About Human Ecology

Human Ecology

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