Climate change and ecological instability have the potential to disrupt human societies and their futures. Cultural, social and ethical life in all societies is directed towards a future that can never be observed, and never be directly acted upon, and yet is always interacting with us. Thinking and acting towards the future involves efforts of imagination that are linked to our sense of being in the world and the ecological pressures we experience. The three key ideas of this book – ecologies, ontologies and mythologies – help us understand the ways people in many different societies attempt to predict and shape their futures. Each chapter places a different emphasis on the linked domains of environmental change, embodied experience, myth and fantasy, politics, technology and intellectual reflection, in relation to imagined futures. The diverse geographic scope of the chapters includes rural Nepal, the islands of the Pacific Ocean, Sweden, coastal Scotland, North America, and remote, rural and urban Australia.
This book will appeal to researchers and students in anthropology, sociology, environmental studies, cultural studies, psychology and politics.
Introduction: Ecologies, ontologies and mythologies of possible futures Linda H. Connor and Jonathan Paul Marshall Part 1 Intellectual and speculative engagements with ecological change 1. Towards an anthropology of the future: visions of a future world in the era of climate change Hans A Baer 2. The first draft of the future: journalism in the ‘Age of the Anthropocene’ Tom Morton 3. Ecological complexity and the ethics of disorder Jonathan Paul Marshall Part 2 The politics of engagement 4. Futures of governance: ecological challenges and policy myths in tuna Fisheries Kate Barclay 5. The work of waste-making: biopolitical labour and the myth of the global city David Boarder Giles 6. From Sociological Imagination to ‘ecological imagination’: Another Future is Possible Ariel Salleh, James Goodman and S. A. Hamed Hosseini Part 3 Environmental change in specific places and cultures 7. Indigenous ontologies and developmentalism: analysis of the National Consultations for the Kiribati Adaptation Program Felicity Prance 8. When climate change is not the concern: realities and futures of environmental change in village Nepal Sascha Fuller 9. Ontologies and ecologies of hardship: past and future governance in the Central Australian arid zone Sarah Holcombe 10. From good meat to endangered species: indigenising nature in Australia’s Western Desert and in Germany’s Ruhr District Ute Eickelkamp Part 4 Body and psyche 11. Climate change imaginings and Depth Psychology: reconciling present and future worlds Sally Gillespie 12. What wrecks reveal Penny McCall Howard 13. Emergent ontologies: natural scepticism, weather certitudes and moral futures Linda H Connor Part 5 Technological mythology 14. Official optimism in the face of an uncertain future: Swedish reactions to climate change threats Mark Graham 15. Geo-engineering, imagining and the problem cycle: a cultural complex in action Jonathan Paul Marshall 16. The creation to come: pre-empting the evolution of the bioeconomy Jeremy Walker