Popular culture and environmental discourse
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What is the role of popular culture in shaping our discourse about the multifaceted system of material things, subjects and causal agents that we call "environment"? Ecocritical Geopolitics offers a new theoretical perspective and approach to the analysis of environmental discourse in popular culture. It combines ecocriticial and critical geopolitical approaches to explore three main themes: dystopian visions, the relationship between the human, post-human and ‘nature’ and speciesism and carnism.
The importance of popular culture in the construction of geopolitical discourse is widely recognized. From ecocriticism, we also appreciate that literature, cinema or theatre can offer a mirror of what the individual author wants to communicate about the relationship between the human being and what can be defined as non-human. This book provides an analysis of environmental discourses with the theoretical tools of critical geopolitics and the analytical methodology of ecocriticism. It develops and disseminates a new scientific approach, defined as ‘ecocritical geopolitics’, to offer an idea of the power of popular culture in the realization of environmental discourse.
Referencing sources as diverse as The Road, The Shape of Water, Lady and the Tramp and tv cooking shows, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of geography, environmental studies, film studies and environmental humanities.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why we need an "Ecocritical Geopolitics" Part 1. Theoretical framework 1.1 Geo(-)graphy, Critical Geopolitics, Popular Geopolitics 1.2 What kind of environmental discourse is that? 1.3 Assembling the toolkit Part 2. Landscapes and fears: discourse about the environment (and unavoidably also about race and gender) in dystopian texts and post-apocalyptic narratives 2.1 Re-visioning the future 2.2 Dystopian settings and (post)human landscapes 2.3 Gulliver and beyond: gender, race and "environmental" clichés Part 3. Posthuman worlds 3.1. Post-human/Transhuman/Posthuman 3.2 Viewing dogs with (post)human lenses 3.3 Posthuman (dis)orders: monsters, hybrids, metamorphosis Part 4. Reframing carnism 4.1. Carnism in popular culture 4.2 Engendering meat 4.3. Carnonormativity and its discontents
Elena dell’Agnese teaches political geography and cultural geography at the University of Milano-Bicocca, where she is also Director of the Centre of Visual Research. Her work has been mainly focused on developing a wide-spectrum approach to "peripheral geographies". For this reason, she is interested in any form of — apparently innocent — "geo-graphical representation", from movies to television drama, cartoons and popular music, with specific attention given to issues relating to politics, gender and race. She publishes extensively on these topics, mostly in Italian and in English, but also in French, Spanish, Japanese and Croatian. In 2009, she founded the Association of Italian Geographers Study Group on "Media and Geography", which she chaired till 2015. She is now Vice-President of the Società Geografica Italiana. In 2014, she was elected Vice-President of the International Geographical Union.
Linking environmental concerns and popular geopolitics, this innovative volume blurs the boundaries of both by engaging in a wide ranging critical survey of novels, television and movies that represent the earth and its inhabitants in the numerous genres of contemporary culture. At the intersection of environmental humanities, political geography, gender, race and critical cultural studies, this volume adds historical insights as well as cross cutting theoretical synthesis to these rapidly growing fields. This makes it essential reading for anyone interested in interrogating cultural representations of animals, landscapes, nature as well as the novel hybrids of our rapidly changing world.
- Simon Dalby, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University
This book combines two critical readings of popular culture ecocriticism and critical geopolitics to
explore the power of popular culture in framing the way we represent the world and more
specifically the relation between the human and the non-human. Dell’Agnese not only introduces
the foundations for an ecocritical geopolitics investigating how popular culture constructs and
reveals environmental fields of meaning, she also skillfully guides the reader during an exhilarating
ride through the dense landscapes of western popular culture, demonstrating an immense literary
and cinematic knowledge when presenting famous and less famous books/films/series to discuss
different types of ecocritical geopolitical discourses. Dell’Agnese focuses on three types of
environmental discourses pertaining to landscapes of fear regarding (dystopian) futures, posthuman
worlds, and carnism (the commonsensical attitude towards eating meat represented as "normal,
natural, necessary and nice") respectively, to demonstrate the originality of ecocritical geopolitics.
- Virginie Mamadouh, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands