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GD913-20 Care-ful Sustainability: Place, Culture and Value

Global Sustainable Development
Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Wes Lin
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The module aims to encourage students to rethink about the meanings of sustainability through opening up critical debates on global challenges. With reference to place, culture and value, the module will enable students to develop advanced discussions on ethics of care and their impacts on transforming the debates on food security, architecture and design, health and wellbeing, inequality and justice for marginalised communities and so on. The module will also encourage students from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds to reflect on what care means through engaging with different vectors of encounters, performance and interactions between human and more-than-human, as well as human and the social-eco worlds. By the end of the module, students will be able to articulate, initiate and deploy advanced conceptual knowledge and analytical approaches across social sciences and arts and humanities to unsettle the debates that matter to human-environmental interactions. In so doing, the module responds critically to the problem-solving approaches to these issues and development discourses, marked by capitalism, modernization and neoliberalism. Thus, it will advance our approach to sustainability that is contextually, socially and culturally sensitive through a 'care-ful' framework.

Module aims

The module aims to enable students to engage with the discussion of human-environment interactions through the discussion of ‘care’, in contributing towards a new articulations of ‘care-ful’ sustainability. We aim to approach care, as a lens of knowing meaningful ways of life, and as a critical hermeneutic in enabling discussion of transformations of human and environment interactions to sustainability. Thus, the module will enable us to renew our understanding of care by which individuals are emplaced in different eco-social relationships, practices and settings, whether it entails care for the self, care for others, care with others or being cared for, and to translate situated examples of interactions into a global standpoint of ‘care-ful’ sustainability. More importantly, in light of the diverse academic and cultural backgrounds from students in global sustainable development, We will engage with key theoretical debates in relation to place, culture and value, in order to make sense of how understanding of place, culture, and value filters through different landscapes of care and caring practices that are transformative, adaptable and localized. We aim to tease out the different ways that we need to think with place, culture and value when addressing challenges of sustainability so that to illuminate key theoretical debates, including landscapes of care, spatiality of care, feminist ethics of care and justice at a time of rapid global change.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

In week 1, the module will introduce the topic and the core theoretical agenda of ‘care-ful’ sustainability that students will engage with throughout the module. In the following weeks, we will cover topics including everyday ecological care, care and technological innovations; food consumption and materiality of care; physical environments and enabling caring places; therapeutic landscapes of care; collaborative forms of enabling caring relations, connecting scientific knowing, social movements, and art interventions; feminist ethics of care and feminist approaches to sensing the environment.

At the beginning of each week, students give presentations based on the reading to start the seminar discussion. The module will conclude with reflections on the role of care in opening up existing debates of global challenges, developing new research directions and discourses, and invigorating new theoretical and methodological intervention for understanding human-environment interactions in the context of global sustainable development.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Engage critically with interdisciplinary discussion on care and sustainability;
  • Examine complex issues of global challenges and human-environment relations through the lens of ‘care’;
  • Develop advaced theoretical and methodological approaches to investigate different caring encounters and human-environment interactions;
  • Initiate and communicate new understandings of human-environment interactions and interventions to sustainability beyond an academic audience.
Indicative reading list

Barnes, M. 2012. Care in Everyday Life: An ethic of care in practice. Policy Press, Bristol.

Bowden, P. 1997. Caring. Gender Sensitive Ethics. Routledge, London.

Bowlby, S., L. McKie, S. Gregory and MacPherson, I. 2010. Interdependency and Care over the Lifecourse. Routledge, Abingdon.

Buse, C., Martin, D., & Nettleton, S. 2018. Conceptualising ‘materialities of care’: Making visible mundane material culture in health and social care contexts. Sociology of Health & Illness 42, 2, 243-255.

Conradson, D. 2003. Geographies of care: spaces, practices, experiences. Social & Cultural Geography 4, 4, 451-454.

Gesler, W. 1992. Therapeutic Landscapes: Medical issues in light of the new cultural geography. Social Science & Medicine 34, 7, 735-46.

Gesler, W. and Kearns, R. 2002. Culture, Place, Health. Routledge, London.

Gilligan, C. 1982. In a Different Voice. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Jackson, P. 1989. Maps of Meaning: An Introduction to Cultural Geography. Unwin Hyman, London.

Kearns, R. & Milligan, C. 2020. Placing therapeutic landscape as theoretical development in Health & Place. Health & Place 61, 102224

Latimer, J. & López Gómez , D. 2019. Intimate Entanglements: Affects, more-than-human intimacies and the politics of relations in Science and Technology. The Sociological Review 67, 2, 247-263.

Lawson, V. 2008. Geographies of Care and Responsibility. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 97, 1, 1-11.

Lynch, K., Kalaitzake, M., & Crean, M. 2021. Care and affective relations: Social justice and sociology. The Sociological Review 69, 1, 53-71.

Massey, D. 2005. For Space. Sage, London.

McDowell, L. 2004. Work, workfare, work/life balance and an ethic of care. Progress in Human Geography 28, 2, 145-163.

Milligan, C. 2000. Bearing the Burden: towards a restructured geography of caring. Area 32, 1, 49-58.

Mol, A. 2008. The logic of care: Health and the problem of patient choice. Routledge, London.

Puig de la Bellacasa, M. 2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Smith, D. 2000. Moral geographies: Ethics in a world of difference. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

Tronto, J.C. 1993. Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. Routledge, New York.

Twigg, J. and Atkin, K. 1994. Carers Perceived: Policy and practice in informal care. Open University Press, Maidenhead.

Research element

Healey & Jenkins (2009) maintain that Research-led-teaching design should consider four discrete opportunities. This module has been designed to include all four of these opportunities.

  1. Research-led learning, where the module syllabus is developed from current research in relevant fields, being based on contemporary and influential, peer-reviewed, and other high-quality research literature. As such, all knowledge for student engagement will be consciously and specifically chosen for its merits in reference to broader academic understanding.
  2. Research-tutored learning, where students engage actively in discussing high-quality, contemporary, and influential research literature. Contact time will use influential and contemporary research papers as basis for discussion and other learning activities.
  3. Research-orientated, where students develop research and inquiry skills. In line with the recommendations of scholarship, research skills – for critical discourse analysis research and analysis – are embedded into the subject content teaching of the module.
  4. Research-based, where students undertake their own enquiry. At the end of the module, students will be enabled to apply qualitative research methods through developing a transdisciplinary review paper on care and sustainability.

The module will engage with literature on care and sustainability from a range of subject disciplines, including human geography, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, science and technology studies and global studies.


This is a module on the MASc in Global Sustainable Development. It offers learning experiences that draw on a range of different national and international subjects. Literature will be chosen according to the principles of internationalization of the curriculum, with space consciously created for the expression of culture, value and place. The module will include literature authored from the Global South, as well as covering these geographies and local narratives about them.

Subject specific skills

As a transdisciplinary module, all skills associated with it are inherently transferable and are outlined below.

Transferable skills
  • Effective reading and summary of advanced-level academic arguments across subject disciplines.
  • Critical interpretation, analysis and evaluation of theories, concepts and methodologies.
  • Effective communication and discussion - written and oral - of perspectives and arguments.

Study time

Type Required
Seminars 10 sessions of 2 hours (10%)
Private study 60 hours (30%)
Assessment 120 hours (60%)
Total 200 hours
Private study description

Students will be expected to spend approx. 6 hours per week outside the classroom reading, researching, and
preparing tasks for weekly sessions.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
Blog 25% 30 hours

A blog article is to be submitted to the module Moodle site (Submission deadline: by the end of Friday of Week 6). The article aims to assess their critical reflection on issues of global challenges and sustainability, as well as effective communication skills with a general audience, such as those of online magazines, including The Conversation; Discover Society, The Sociological Review (online Magazine) and the LSE Impact Blog.

Review/Research Essay 60% 80 hours

A review/research essay on a topic in relation to 'care-ful' sustainability, with an aim of developing a new research agenda in the field of inquiry.

Review/Research Essay Plan 15% 10 hours

Develop an essay plan (400 words +/- 10%), outlining the body of literature, methodological approach or/and substantive issue that you are going to discuss for your final essay. (Submission deadline in Week 10, Term 2)

Assessment group R1
Weighting Study time
Review/Research Essay 100%

A review/research essay on a topic in relation to 'care-ful' sustainability, with an aim of developing a new research agenda in the field of inquiry.

Feedback on assessment

Written feedback.


This module is Option list A for:

  • Year 1 of TIPA-LA9Z Postgraduate Taught Community, Engagement and Belonging (MASc)

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 1 of TGDA-L801 Postgraduate Taught Global Sustainable Development