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The corporate capture of sustainable development and its transformation into a 'good Anthropocene' historical bloc

Sklair, Leslie (2019) The corporate capture of sustainable development and its transformation into a 'good Anthropocene' historical bloc. Civitas, 19 (2). pp. 296-314. ISSN 1519-6089

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Identification Number: 10.15448/1984-7289.2019.2.31970


Inspired by Antonio Gramsci's analysis of bourgeois hegemony and his theoretical formulation of historical blocs, this paper attempts to explain how the concept and practice of sustainable development were captured by corporate interests in the last few decades of the twentieth century and how they were transformed into what we can name a 'good Anthropocene' historical bloc at the beginning of the twenty-first century. This corporate capture is theorised in terms of the transnational capitalist class as represented by corporate, statist/political, professional and consumerist fractions operating at all levels of an increasingly globalising world. In this essay, I propose the term 'critical Anthropocene narrative', highlighting the dangers posed by the Anthropocene and the need for radical systems' change entailing the end of capitalism and the hierarchical state. The critical Anthropocene narrative, thus, stands in radical opposition to the 'good Anthropocene' narrative which I argue was invented as a strategy to defend the socio-economic status quo by the proponents of sustainable development and their successors in the Anthropocene era, despite the good intentions of many environmentalists working in corporations, governments, NGOs, and international organizations. The paper concludes with some suggestions on how to deal with the potential existential threats to the survival of humanity.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 Civitas
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 18 May 2020 12:06
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2024 23:45

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