Pluralizing Debates on the Anthropocene Requires Engaging with the Diversity of Existing Scholarship

Jonathan Pickering*, James Patterson, Frank Biermann, Sarah Burch, Lorraine Elliott, Aarti Gupta, Cristina Yumie Aoki Inoue, Atsushi Ishii, Agni Kalfagianni, James Meadowcroft, Chukwumerije Okereke, Åsa Persson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A recent article in this journal (Jackson 2021) validly emphasized that debates about the Anthropocene need to recognize a diverse range of perspectives, worldviews, and forms of knowledge. In doing so, however, the author mischaracterized scholarship on earth system governance as being antithetical to a critical and pluralistic stance on the Anthropocene. In this commentary we address key concerns about the article: selective and misleading quotations regarding the earth system governance literature’s diversity; unwarranted insinuations that juxtapose the implications of this literature with those of slavery and holocausts; and neglect of the breadth and diversity of scholarship on earth system governance. We underscore the need for scholarly debates on the Anthropocene to be informed by a balanced and rigorous assessment of existing scholarship, and for a constructive dialogue between global and locally situated ways of understanding the earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e-i-e-vi
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number2
Early online date22 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023


  • Anthropocene
  • diversity
  • earth system governance
  • inclusion
  • pluralism


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