Avatar… and the 'Sustainabullies' of Higher Education

by Patricia Kelly


This paper uses the film Avatar as the basis for transdisciplinary insights, based on media studies, critical futures and academic staff development perspectives. These are used to discuss parallels between the Avatar’s Colonel Quaritch’s rabid rejection of reverence for nature, angry conservative responses to the movie and some harsh criticism of the concept of ‘re-enchantment’ in sustainability in Higher Education. Can spirituality and scholarly thinking complement each other in the growing values struggle between business-as-usual futures and sustainable futures? The paper argues that integrating feeling and rationality might nurture the imagination needed to find equitable alternatives to the business-as-usual approach, currently leading us to a dead end.

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