Limits to Terrestrial Extraction  book cover
1st Edition

Limits to Terrestrial Extraction

ISBN 9780367863364
Published February 20, 2020 by Routledge
90 Pages

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Book Description

This volume focuses on the social, cultural, and ecological consequences of a political economy of energy.

A political economy of energy holds that an enduring hallmark of the current context is a reorganization of human society toward energy extraction and production. Limits to Terrestrial Extraction looks at the construction of society itself as an energy-harvesting “megamachine,” the ecomodernist project of the latter half of the twentieth century and its disastrous environmental record, and mining Near Earth Objects to extract extraterrestrial resources. Each chapter explores a limit to terrestrial extraction – spatially, economically, or socially – finding that business as usual cannot yield a different world. The authors eschew easy answers of natural resource management or discourses of wise use, instead offering critiques of market society and its constitutive drive to produce and waste energy. Overall, this volume establishes the existential stakes and scope of change that will be required to build a better world.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental political theory, as well as social scientists and humanities scholars who study the intersection of energy and society.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors

1. Introduction

Robert E. Kirsch

2. Mumford and Bataille: Towards a Political Economy of Energy Consumption

Robert E. Kirsch

3. Climate Change and Decarbonization: The Politics of Delusion, Delay, and Destruction in Ecopragmatic Energy Extractivism

Timothy W. Luke

4. Star Power: Outer Space Mining and the Metabolic Rift

Emily Ray and Sean Parson

5. Conclusion

Robert E. Kirsch and Emily Ray


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Robert E. Kirsch is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Leadership and Integrative Studies at Arizona State University, USA.