CultureLab • Permanent Seminar

Anahid Roux-Rosier

Cultivating a good life: permaculture practices of field philosophy

Permaculture has been commonly presented as a “way of life” where the idea of leading a “good life” anchors in the socio-ecological quest of designing stable and sustainable communities of living beings. Despite its centralization in discourses and foundational theories of permaculture, the ethical and organizational points presented as guides on the path of such a good life remain aphoristic. Thus, the description of the “good life” based on permaculture principles looks more like an invitation, for each permaculture practitioner, to find its own answer, its own way to be part of the living community, more than like a clear moral cartography. In other words, if the limits of the moral project of permaculture have been set since the beginning, their openness has left space for a broad interpretative latitude.

Nevertheless, this latitude is centralized around, on the one hand, the wish to lead a coherent moral life by taking care of nature, and, on the other hand, to participate in a more global socio-ecological change. This approach centralizes the notion of individual moral autonomy and, at the same time, is based on the idea that such autonomy emerges from the design of appropriated socio-ecological multi-species communities. Besides, the efforts for leading a “fair” socio-ecological life requests a questioning process (of oneself and others), which only exists once it becomes embodied in specific practices or specific spaces (such as gardens, for example).

Thus, to be grasped, the philosophical aspects of permaculture require a methodological move on the field, in the on-going of discussions with practitioners and the observation of the particular specificities of individual initiatives.

What kind of consequences, on the practice of philosophy, such a move is implying? In this session, I will answer such questions through my own activity as a field philosopher, relating my research both to methodological questioning on field philosophy and to the way permaculture practitioners’ discourses relate and contrast with the broad idea of philosophy as a way of life.

Anahid Roux-Rosier

Anahid Roux-Rosier is a PhD candidate from Lyon 3 university – Institute of Philosophy (IRPHIL) and is collaborating with the Art of Living Research Group from CultureLab (IfilNova). She began her PhD in 2016 with a research project on the socio-environmental imaginaries and related practices of Permaculture. Her work aims at investigating how the philosophical and organizational aphorisms of Permaculture fostering an ethical paradigm of “good life” with nature are interpreted and translated into practices by permaculture practitioners. Her PhD dissertation is thus contributing to the approach of philosophy as an art of living through the investigation of contemporary alternative ecological movements claims. Among other, Anahid published, in 2018: “Alternative Visions: Permaculture as Imaginaries of the Anthropocene”, Organization, 25(4), 550-572 (with Gazi Islam and Ricardo Azambuja) and, more recently (2022), “Dialectiques expérimentales: la permaculture comme terrain philosophique” In Delorme D, Pierron JP (Eds) Manifeste pour une philosophie de Terrain, Dijon : Editions Universitaires de Dijon [“Experimental Dialectics : Permaculture as a Philosophical Field” in Manifesto for a Field Philosophy].

All welcome. Free entry. To join the session on Zoom, click here.