Carbon Footprints as Cultural–Ecological Metaphors (Hardback) book cover

Carbon Footprints as Cultural–Ecological Metaphors

By Anita Girvan

© 2018 – Routledge

200 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Description

Through an examination of carbon footprint metaphors, this books demonstrates the ways in which climate change and other ecological issues are culturally and materially constituted through metaphor.

The carbon footprint metaphor has achieved a ubiquitous presence in Anglo-North American public contexts since the turn of the millennium, yet this metaphor remains under-examined as a crucial mediator of political responses to the urgent crisis of climate change. Existing books and articles on the carbon footprint typically treat this metaphor as a quantifying metric, with little attention to the shifting mediations and practices of the carbon footprint as a metaphor. This gap echoes a wider gap in understanding metaphors as key figures in mediating more-than-human relations at a time when such relations profoundly matter. As a timely intervention, this book addresses this gap by using insights from environmental humanities and political ecology to discuss carbon footprint metaphors in popular and public texts.

This book will be of great interest to researchers and students of environmental humanities, political ecology, environmental communication, and metaphor studies.

Reviews

"Few ecological tropes have achieved as much cultural currency as the carbon footprint. Girvan undertakes to explain why as she traces carbon footprint metaphors through a series of case studies captivatingly posed as "tales". This book does crucial work recalling that footprints are metaphors with profound material and political stakes. As Girvan shows, struggles over the power of metaphor will help determine the ecological futures of humans and non-humans in a time of global climate change." — Nicole Shukin, author of Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times, and Associate Professor of English, the University of Victoria

"There is an urgent need to review the economy of metaphor in this time of heightened climatic and ecological instability, particularly as we seek to better attune to cultural and material meanings for they consequentially shape nuanced approaches to climate change. The carbon footprint and its affective mediation is innovatively linked to the behaviour of carbon subjects and the geopolitics of energy development in this study’s unique contribution to a newly climatic understanding of the materiality of cultural inscription."Tom Bristow, Department of English Studies, Durham University

Table of Contents

List of figures

Acknowledgments

Introduction – How Big is Yours?

PART I

  1. Cultural-Material Resonances of ‘Carbon’ and ‘Footprint’ and the Emergence of a new Compound Metaphor
  2. Mise-en-Scene: Metaphor, Affect, Politics, Ecology

PART II – A Tale of Three Footprints 

  1. Carbon Subjectivity
  2. Carbon Citizenship
  3. Carbon Vitality

CONCLUSION - Fostering Critical Eco-Aesthetic Literacies

About the Author

Anita Girvan is a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Global Studies and teaches in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria in Canada.

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Humanities

The Routledge Environmental Humanities series is an original and inspiring venture recognising that today’s world agricultural and water crises, ocean pollution and resource depletion, global warming from greenhouse gases, urban sprawl, overpopulation, food insecurity and environmental justice are all crises of culture.

The reality of understanding and finding adaptive solutions to our present and future environmental challenges has shifted the epicenter of environmental studies away from an exclusively scientific and technological framework to one that depends on the human-focused disciplines and ideas of the humanities and allied social sciences.

We thus welcome book proposals from all humanities and social sciences disciplines for an inclusive and interdisciplinary series. We favour manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. The readership comprises scholars and students from the humanities and social sciences and thoughtful readers concerned about the human dimensions of environmental change.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan (Rebecca.Brennan@tandf.co.uk) to submit proposals

Praise for A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016):

A Cultural History of Climate Change shows that the humanities are not simply a late-arriving appendage to Earth System science, to help in the work of translation. These essays offer distinctive insights into how and why humans reason and imagine their ‘weather-worlds’ (Ingold, 2010). We learn about the interpenetration of climate and culture and are prompted to think creatively about different ways in which the idea of climate change can be conceptualised and acted upon beyond merely ‘saving the planet’.

Professor Mike Hulme, King's College London, in Green Letters

Series Editors:

Professor Libby Robin, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Guest Professor of Environmental History, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.

Dr Paul Warde, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, UK.

Editorial Board

Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK, Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia, Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK, Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia, Georgina Endfield, Liverpool UK, Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia, Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA,□    Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, Iain McCalman, University of Sydney, Australia,    Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia, Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK, Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US, Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia

International Advisory Board

William Beinart,University of Oxford, UK, Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA, Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Deborah Bird Rose, University of New South Wales, Australia, Sverker Sörlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, LMU Munich University, Germany, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA, Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUS072000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUS099000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
POL044000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy