Framing, deframing and reframing the Anthropocene

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Publishing in Ambio and elsewhere, geoscientists distributed across several disciplines have both created and substantiated the Anthropocene concept since the turn of the millennium. Epochal and topically encompassing, the concept has served to focus academic and political attention on the extraordinary scale, scope and magnitude of the human impact on the Earth. The concept serves as a metaphorical ‘roof’ that allows a family of geoscientific terms to reside together harmoniously in the same space. The four Ambio papers evaluated here helped to both build the roof and the family. However, for all their merits, the papers form part of a wider scientific discourse that threatens to colonise the imagination of Earth present and future. A scientific framing of the Anthropocene needs to be deframed and then reframed in terms of what science misses (e.g. diverse social values, needs and wants, which imply alternate courses of possible future action). The papers assessed in this commentary have, albeit unintentionally, helped inspire this de- and reframing in wider social science, the humanities and the arts. Looking ahead, dissonant forms of knowledge and argument about Earth present and future will be key to forging a ‘good Anthropocene’. In future, Ambio can help to foster this productive dissonance by loosening its own intellectual parameters while maintaining its high standards of scholarship
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1788–1792
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Framing, deframing and reframing the Anthropocene'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this