IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Land, labour and the anthropology of work: towards sustainable livelihoods


  • John M. Gowdy
  • Klaus Hubacek


As the debate about the meaning of sustainable development matures, the links between environmental and social sustainability are becoming clearer. Environmental degradation frequently leads to social instability and vice-versa. Recent studies of past civilizations show a disturbing and apparently common pattern of colonisation of a new area, rapid expansion, increasing pressure on natural resources, and eventually environmental disruption and social collapse. If we are to move towards formulating and implementing policies to achieve a sustainable way of living on a finite planet, environmental and social policies must go hand in hand. We argue in this paper that the dominant paradigm in economics, and the market economy it describes, treats both nature and humans as commodities whose sole purpose is to meet the needs of an imperfect market. We argue further that the concept of sustainable livelihoods is a way to address the major social and environmental problems we face. By addressing directly how humans work, live and consume, we can begin to move towards a way of life that is more environmentally friendly and more socially rewarding.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Gowdy & Klaus Hubacek, 2000. "Land, labour and the anthropology of work: towards sustainable livelihoods," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1), pages 17-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijarge:v:1:y:2000:i:1:p:17-27

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ids:ijarge:v:1:y:2000:i:1:p:17-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Carmel O'Grady). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.