Anthropocentrism, animism and the Anthropocene: Decentring the human in psychology

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Abstract

This article explores the role of anthropocentric ideology, and belief systems in hampering effective individual and collective responses to ecological crises. In the context of the Anthropocene, it considers how anthropocentrism is culturally widespread and habitually reproduced across a range of practices. However,
to avoid overly deterministic readings of the power of anthropocentrism, the article considers how human-centred ways of thinking and working are being challenged in many areas of life. It focuses on psychology, psychotherapy and related disciplines, drawing on examples of research, professional practice and everyday life that are actively questioning anthropocentrism. It considers if and how therapeutic practices can engage with human healing whilst meaningfully shifting the focus to the ways in which human health and well-being is entangled with other-than-humans. The article then critically considers whether an animist worldview can effectively frame an alternative to anthropocentrism, exploring if and how animism can be appropriately understood within a non-Indigenous and everyday context. The article concludes by reflecting on the wider ethical and political challenge for psychology of actively unlearning anthropocentrism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Gestalt Journal
Volume31
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • Animism
  • anthropocentrism
  • Animals
  • human-animal relations
  • human-animal studies
  • posthumanism
  • Indigenous knowledge

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