, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 294–312 | Cite as

Subjectivity in a context of environmental change: opening new dialogues in mental health research

  • Sonia Regina da Cal SeixasEmail author
  • Richard Joseph Nunes
Original Article


In a period of unstable experimentation with challenges of globalization of associated risks, and disenchantment with ‘enduring injustice’, we bring forward a consideration of subjectivity to the study of environmental change and mental health. We begin by identifying how mainstream climate change and mental health studies are unable to explain the emergent and co-evolutionary pathways of agency. As a means of freeing these studies of their objective dimensions of linear-causation, we argue in favour of a re-positioning of subjectivity within an appreciation of recognition conflicts and beyond the over-deterministic interpretations of power centres—state, market or religion. We draw on one example of scientific research that was conducted in a region undergoing strong environmental, social and cultural changes, in the state of São Paulo/Brazil, with the aim to open mental health research to new dialogues, to which we contribute with the notion of the ‘pluriversal subject’.


Subjectivity Environmental change Mental health Disenchantment Pluriversal 



The authors wish to acknowledge the support received the Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP) for the development of this project (process n. 2012/22578-1), which enabled an academic visit to the University of Reading (UK) from July to November 2013, and process n. 2013/17173-5, which has allowed to continue the collaboration among the authors. To the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development—CNPq/Brazil for the Fellowship granted to the first author. We also wish to our gratitude to School of Real Estate & Planning and the Walker Institute, University of Reading, for hosting this project.


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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Regina da Cal Seixas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard Joseph Nunes
    • 2
  1. 1.NEPAM/University of Campinas – UNICAMP. Rua dos FlamboyantsCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Real Estate and Planning, Henley Business SchoolUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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