UCL Anthropology



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The concept of sustainability as the product of concern about global environmental degradation, rising social inequalities and dispossession is the key concept of our times, albeit a contested one.

The Centre for the Anthropology of Sustainability (CAOS) is a research centre that draws together the wide range of work of international excellence on questions related to the notion of social and environmental sustainability. Anthropology at UCL, with its four-field approach (social, biological, medical, material), has a unique contribution to make towards research in sustainability, and towards integrating multidisciplinary studies on ways of living that do not damage the ecological systems of which we are part, and on which we depend for survival. Our research focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of sustainability: on local and global understandings of the concept and on lived practices around the world.

CAOS promotes innovative research on environmental theory and practices, on the emerging environmental applications and implications of digital technologies, design objectives and the whole gamut of environmental interventions. Our expertise also lies in cross-cultural and historical studies of social change, offering insights into features of resilience and vulnerability under conditions of social, political or physical change and stress. We also investigate how political pressure surrounding sustainable resource governance shapes regimes of measurement and control and the devolution of risk and responsibility. World class research into demographic behaviour and life history patterns examines the interrelationships between fertility, economic growth and inequality. Our combined activities center around the core themes of Anthropology, Behaviour and Culture:

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Anthropology of Sustainability

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Sustainable Behaviour

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Cultures of Sustainability