The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis : Rethinking modernity in a new epoch book cover
1st Edition

The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis
Rethinking modernity in a new epoch

ISBN 9781138821248
Published May 14, 2015 by Routledge
200 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Anthropocene, in which humankind has become a geological force, is a major scientific proposal; but it also means that the conceptions of the natural and social worlds on which sociology, political science, history, law, economics and philosophy rest are called into question.

The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis captures some of the radical new thinking prompted by the arrival of the Anthropocene and opens up the social sciences and humanities to the profound meaning of the new geological epoch, the ‘Age of Humans’. Drawing on the expertise of world-recognised scholars and thought-provoking intellectuals, the book explores the challenges and difficult questions posed by the convergence of geological and human history to the foundational ideas of modern social science.

If in the Anthropocene humans have become a force of nature, changing the functioning of the Earth system as volcanism and glacial cycles do, then it means the end of the idea of nature as no more than the inert backdrop to the drama of human affairs. It means the end of the ‘social-only’ understanding of human history and agency. These pillars of modernity are now destabilised. The scale and pace of the shifts occurring on Earth are beyond human experience and expose the anachronisms of ‘Holocene thinking’. The book explores what kinds of narratives are emerging around the scientific idea of the new geological epoch, and what it means for the ‘politics of unsustainability’.


Table of Contents

1. Thinking the Anthropocene  Part 1: The concept and its implications  2. The Geological Turn: Narratives of the Anthropocene  3. Human Destiny in the Anthropocene  4. The Anthropocene and the Convergence of Histories  5. The Political Ecology of the Technocene: Uncovering ecologically unequal exchange in the world-system  6. Losing the Earth Knowingly: Six grammars of environmental reflexivity around 1800  Part 2: Catastrophism in the Anthropocene  7. Anthropocene, Catastrophism and Green Political Theory   8. Eschatology in the Anthropocene: From the chronos of deep time to the kairos of the age of humans  9. Green Eschatology  Part 3: Rethinking politics 10. Back to the Holocene: A conceptual, and possibly practical, return to a nature not intended for humans  11. Accepting the Reality of Gaia: A fundamental shift?  12. Telling Friends from Foes in the Time of the Anthropocene  13. A Much-Needed Renewal of Environmentalism? Eco-politics in the Anthropocene  14. The Anthropocene and Its Victims  Epilogue 15. Commission on Planetary Ages Decision CC87966424/49: The Onomatophore of the Anthropocene

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Clive Hamilton is Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University in Canberra, Australia.

Christophe Bonneuil is a Senior researcher in History at the Centre A. Koyré (CNRS, EHESS and MNHN) Paris, France.

François Gemenne is a Research fellow at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (CEARC), France and at the University of Liège (CEDEM), Belgium.


'These are fascinating, many-sided and important explorations of how all the complicated things that humans do are changing the future of a planet."–Jan Zalasiewicz, University of Leicester, UK and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group

"The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis gathers theoretical influences as actor-network theory and combined and uneven development, along with a thoroughly analysis of eco-politics and green eschatology, to form a well-articulated response not only to what the Anthropocene is, but also its limitations in viewing humans as species." -- Ana-Marie Deliu, Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania