Surviving the Anthropocene through Inventing New Ecological Justice and Biosocial Philosophical Literacy

ARRS code: J7-1824
Period: 1. 7. 2019 – 30. 6. 2023

Project head: prof. dr. Lenart Škof (ZRS Koper)

Surviving the Anthropocene through Inventing New Ecological Justice and Biosocial Philosophical Literacy aims to resolve the perceived clash between culture, nature, ethics, and policy in the Anthropocene through a critical inter-disciplinary approach. It offers a new space for the exploration of elemental water and the development of water literacy. Water animates all life and critically relies on appropriate conditions for expression, co-evolvement and life-supporting reorganization. A critical aspect of the research project is an innovative, inclusive ecopedagogical approach that inspires a range of stakeholders, and is invested in disrupting pre-existing structural obstacles and perceptions of the more-than-human world as “resource” or “environmental service provider” (Kopnina, 2014; Dolšak&Hillyard, 2014).

We understand ‘elements’ in the sense of some of the main works on the elements – water, air, fire and earth – i.e., of G. Bachelard’s Air and Dreams and Water and Dreams (Bachelard 2006 and 2011), Merleau-Ponty’s ecological philosophy of the elements (Merleau-Ponty 2007) and Luce Irigaray’s works on water and air) as an ontologico-material substratum of our world (Irigaray 2008 and 2016). The ‘elemental’ and human worlds ontologically relate to each other and all beings (vegetal beings and, nonhuman animals) as this project will demonstrate. The specificity of this inquiry rests with the elements of water (an element of fluidity/porousness; Hawke&Palsson 2017) and air (as an element of a new ‘respiratory philosophy’; Škof&Berndtson 2018; Irigaray 2016). These two elements animate all life and critically rely on the mutuality of clean aquatic and atmospheric conditions for expression, co-evolvement and life- supporting reorganization.

Nature has been increasingly commoditised and ecologically degraded through lack of effective, companion-centred mutual respect and ethical governance and wise stewardship of nature (Hawke&Palsson 2017). By centering ecology and navigating new ecological justice through new hydro-logics, the proposed research will champion connectivity and resilience, awe and wonder. The flow on aims and effects of these motivations is to inspire accountability in educational design and citizen engagement that speaks with nature, rather than about nature as a passive and subordinate ‘other’.  This necessarily inter-disciplinary project has three main objectives:

I. To understand and co-direct water and its connections more holistically as having environmental, economic and cultural value through ecological literacy;  

II. To enact water literacy as understood philosophically and socio-culturally through the application of CAS towards new ontological direction; 

III. To advance ecological restorative justice and intersubjective ethics in theory and praxis through innovative philosophy and bio-respect for elemental worlds founded in distinct, creative and inclusive pedagogy


Project head

prof. dr. Lenart Škof –Participating as the head of the Institute for Philosophical Studies (ZRS Koper)


Dr. Shé Hawke Mackenzie – Research Associate, Participating through her role as Head of Mediterranean Institute for Environmental Studies and member of Institute for Philosophical Studies, ZRS Koper

Dr. Nadja Furlan Štante – Principal Research Associate, Participating through The Institute for Philosophical Studies, ZRS Koper

Dr. Nives Dolšak – Participating through the partner Alma Mater Europea – European Center, Maribor and as Director od the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Maja Bjelica – Research Assistant Participating through Institute for Philosophical Studies, ZRS Koper

Dr. Petri Joakim Berndtson – Research Associate, Participating through The Institute for Philosophical Studies, ZRS Koper

Dr Reingard Spannring – International Research Partner and Leader from University of Innsbruck, Austria

Dr Rado Bohinc – Principal Research Associate, Law Institute, ZRS Koper

From left to right: Reingard Spannring, Shé Hawke, Lenart Škof, Nadja Furlan Štante, Kristjan Nemac, Nives Dolšak


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Events organized/co-organized by our members:


Evaluation of bibliographic indicator of scientific performance according to the ARRS (Slovene)