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Traces of (Un-) Sustainability

Towards a Materially Engaged Ecology of Mind

Peter Graham

Persons only develop in relation to environment, much in the same way we develop psychologically in relation to our parents and caregivers. Neither child nor parent is properly conceptualized, modelled, or understood without the inclusion of the other in the map or model of psychological/ecological development. Likewise, we perceive, think, and feel with and not just about environment and material artifacts. The achievement of sustainability then implies making changes to minds that are mediated, extended and distributed across brains, bodies, and the materiality of one’s environment. Our inherited world, however broken, guides our individual and collective becoming much as a parent guides the development of a child.

The traces of (un-) sustainability perspective refutes the economistic conceptual model whereby rational economic actors are misperceived and misunderstood to have the moral right, if not the duty, to actively participate in the destruction of our collective future with ethical immunity. The presumed intelligence and naturalness of the market-based economic system is exposed as primarily a historically inherited culture-based delusion. If values and attitudes can be at least partially transformed by transforming the mundane materiality which is co-constitutive of our social mind, then an important milestone will have been achieved in our understanding of (un-) sustainability.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Names: Graham, Peter (Sociologist) author.Title: Traces of (un-) sustainability: towards a materially engagedecology of mind / Peter Graham.Description: 1 Edition. | New York: Peter Lang, 2020.Includes bibliographical references and index.Identifiers: LCCN 2019055024 | ISBN 978-1-4331-7666-1 (hardback: alk. paper)ISBN 978-1-4331-7672-2 (ebook pdf)ISBN 978-1-4331-7673-9 (epub) | ISBN 978-1-4331-7674-6 (mobi)Subjects: LCSH: Sustainability—Social aspects. | Economicdevelopment—Moral and ethical aspects. | Human ecology.Classification: LCC HC79.E5 G68533 2020 | DDC 304.2—dc23LC record available at 10.3726/b17003




Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “DeutscheNationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are availableon the Internet at




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