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The Stories We Live By

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Dr Arran Stibbe, Reader in Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, has  created a free online course in ecolinguistics ‘The Stories We Live By’ – an examination of the narratives that dictate the way in which we live our lives and how they contribute to and perpetuate our unsustainable behaviour.

The social and ecological issues that humanity currently faces are so severe that they call into question the fundamental stories that we live by: stories of consumerism, infinite economic growth, progress and human separation from nature. The course provides linguistic tools for revealing the stories we live by, questioning them from an ecological perspective and contributing to the search for new stories to live by.

The course examines a great variety of texts from advertisements, lifestyle magazines and economics textbooks to surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese haiku. In each case, the question is whether the underlying stories encourage us to care about other people and the ecosystems that life depends on. Each section covers a type story (ideologies, framings, metaphors, evaluations, identities, convictions, erasure and salience) with notes, exercises, videos and (for those who register) discussion groups, tuition and additional materials.

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