This book explores the intertwining of politics and ontology, shedding light on the ways in which, as our ability to investigate, regulate, appropriate, ’enhance’ and destroy material reality have developed, so new social scientific accounts of nature and our relationship with it have emerged, together with new forms of power. Engaging with cutting-edge social theory and elaborating on the thought of Foucault, Heidegger, Adorno and Agamben, the author demonstrates that the convergence of ontology with politics is not simply an intellectual endeavour of growing import, but also a governmental practice which builds upon neoliberal programmes, the renewed accumulation of capital and the development of technosciences in areas such as climate change, geoengineering and biotechnology. With shifts in our accounts of nature have come new means of mastering it, giving rise to unprecedented forms of exploitation and destruction - with related forms of social domination. In the light of growing social inequalities, environmental degradation and resource appropriation and commodification, Ontological Politics in a Disposable World: The New Mastery of Nature reveals the need for new critical frameworks and oppositional practices, to challenge the rationality of government that lies behind these developments: a rationality that thrives on indeterminacy and an account of materiality as comprised of fluid, ever-changing states, simultaneously agential and pliable, to which social theory increasingly subscribes without questioning enough its underpinnings and implications. A theoretically sophisticated reassessment of the relationship between ontology and politics, which draws the contours of a renewed humanism to allow for a more harmonious relationship with the world, this book will appeal to scholars in social and political theory, environmental sociology, geography, science and technology studies and contemporary European thought on the material world.
Luigi Pellizzoni is Associate Professor of Environmental and Political Sociology at the University of Trieste, Italy and co-editor of Neoliberalism and Technoscience.
'The relevance of cutting edge social theory to resolving the environmental crisis is often far from obvious. Luigi Pellizzoni brings welcome clarity to the often opaque world of post-humanism, new materialism and the ontological turn while providing an unusually sophisticated analysis of how we humans are transforming nature. There is a lot in this book to think about. It is worth reading at least twice.’ - Stewart Lockie, James Cook University, Australia ’Excellent, erudite speculative philosophy, insightful commentary on the works of Adorno, Heidegger, Foucault, etc. Most originally, it convincingly demonstrates the emergence of mastery-of-nature culture 2.0 for human enhancement, whereby the risks and uncertainties of manipulating nature’s dynamics are not ignored, nor feared, nor even managed, but instead exuberantly ridden, for better or for worse.’ Raymond Murphy, University of Ottawa, Canada ’Ontological Politics in a Disposable World provides a rich and nuanced account of how society, scientific knowledge, and nature are being transformed in neoliberal times.’ - Charles Thorpe, University of California, San Diego, USA
'This is an exciting book, thick, dense, supported by solid arguments and political passion. It is particularly useful for those engaging with the semiotics of the ontological turn. It can hopefully contribute to fostering a necessary debate on the explicit and implicit relationships between the politics of the ontological turn and neoliberalism.' - Andrea Ghelfi, Environmental Values