The Anthropocene Materiality and Society


The Anthropocene denotes the age in which human activity fundamentally affects the Earth’s geology and ecosystem; the age in which we live in now, where we on a daily basis live over the planet’s material limits. On the big scale, climate change will continue, and crises that arise in connection with, or because of, it such as increased migration and refugee situations, famine, wars, flooding, lack of arable land, extinction of species, and natural disasters, will become more prevalent. On a smaller, but not less important, scale, changes inevitably affect day-to-day private, organizational and societal life with changed prerequisites for production, housing, local governments, or planning. In this situation, where the planet’s material limits are transgressed by the way we live, traditional solutions are longer be viable. Both the game and the rules are new – and mostly yet unknown.  This urges for extensive changes, also within the practice of research. This course offers an open, inspiring and though-provoking arena to discuss how we, as social scientists, can re-address research questions and approaches to the production of knowledge, in the Anthropocene era. We believe that the creativity of junior scholars is central to the re-envisaging of the practices of the social sciences. In this course, PhD students will therefore, together with faculty members and inspirational keynote speakers, not only discuss the role and scope of their PhD projects, and their future as social science researchers, in relation to the themes in the course. They will also take an active role in the joint forming of the course together with the course faculty. 

During the course we will discuss themes such as:  How can and should we understand various forms of management and public governance in relation to the new rules of the game that arise from the Anthropocene, and how can society be organized to deal with future crises? How can perspectives from business studies and other academic disciplines contribute to address the challenges of the Anthropocene? What values are at stake, how are priorities made between them and why, and what needs to be left behind – in practice and research – when dealing with the Anthropocene materiality? What does it mean for social studies researchers, to conduct research in a context of the Anthropocene? What is ethics in the Anthropocene? 

Who can participate: 

All PhD students are welcome. Also you who do not have to have “Anthropocene” as your research topic, in your project title, or with extensive knowledge of Anthropocene scholarship. The course aims at situating and relating your PhD-project to such scholarship, regardless of your topic, project or level of knowledge. 


The course starts 28-29/3 2023 with an introductory workshop IRL (see below). This is followed by 3 online workshops; final workshop 31/5-1/6 2023 IRL (see below).

Where: Åland and online. The Åland archipelago in the Baltic sea, a geopolitically potential hotspot but since 1921 an autonomous and demilitarized region (under the sovereignty of the Republic of Finland), with a rich and active local democracy and civil society. The islands are easy reachable both from Finland and Sweden by ferries.


Food and accommodation is free of charge for participating PhD students due to funds from the Nordic Academy of Management (NFF). The cost for travels is not included. Places are limited but distributed on a first-come-first-serve-basis

Stake-holder participation: 

During the final work-shop, stakeholders, such as politicians, civil servants, representatives from civil society and businesses,  will participate in a joint discussion on the course theme from their perspectives.