Against Ecological Sovereignty
Ethics, Biopolitics, and Saving the Natural World
Publication Year: 2011
Against Ecological Sovereignty is a passionate defense of radical ecology that speaks directly to current debates concerning the nature, and dangers, of sovereign power. Engaging the work of Bataille, Arendt, Levinas, Nancy, and Agamben, among others, Mick Smith reconnects the political critique of sovereign power with ecological considerations, arguing that ethical and political responsibilities for the consequences of our actions do not end with those defined as human.
Against Ecological Sovereignty is the first book to turn Agamben’s analysis of sovereignty and biopolitics toward an investigation of ecological concerns. In doing so it exposes limits to that thought, maintaining that the increasingly widespread biopolitical management of human populations has an unrecognized ecological analogue—reducing nature to a “resource” for human projects. Smith contends that a radical ecological politics must resist both the depoliticizing exercise of sovereign power and the pervasive spread of biopolitics in order to reveal new possibilities for creating healthy human and nonhuman communities.
Presenting a stinging critique of human claims to sovereignty over the natural world, Smith proposes an alternative way to conceive of posthumanist ecological communities—one that recognizes the utter singularity of the beings in them.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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The world is a wonderful place despite the ecological damage we infl ict on it. Our existence in the world is fi nite, but of all the experiences it offers, love is that which matters most. My father was, quite simply, the loveliest man I have ever known, and I miss him deeply. I dedicate this book to him and also to my mother, Eileen, my partner, Joyce ...
INTRODUCTION: A Grain of Sand
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...standing of which is certainly not without political connotations. But what radical ecology contests is human dominion over the natural world— that is to say, ecological sovereignty in all its many guises. This political contest too may turn on a grain of sand, on a few words, deeds, or circumstances that might alter the pattern of that future pre-...
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It’s not that what is past casts its light on what is present, or what is present its light on what is past; rather, image is that wherein what has been comes together in a fl ash with the now to form a constel-lation. In other words, image is dialectics at a standstill. For while the relation of the present to the past is a purely temporal, continu-...
2 The Sovereignty of Good
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...because of his subsequent philosophical and ideological infl uence. Even Western philosophy is far from being, as Whitehead (1978, 39) famously suggested, just “a series of footnotes to Plato.” Still less is it to paint him as ultimately responsible for our current ecological crisis. It is not even to argue that metaphysics and myth should (or could) be entirely aban-...
3 Primitivism: Anarchy, Politics, and the State of Nature
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All signifi cant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts not only because of their histori-cal development— in which they were transferred from theology to the theory of the state, whereby, for example, the omnipotent God became the omnipotent lawgiver— but also because of their ...
4 Suspended Animation: Radical Ecology, Sovereign Powers, and Saving the (Natural) World
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...ecology tries to do, if this speaking is now reimagined as a critique of both the principle of sovereignty and the divisive operations of the an-thropological machine? How might the ethical and political concerns of radical ecologists to “save the world” actually be expressed in terms that voice the anarchic aspects of ethics and politics, and what kinds ...
5 Risks, Responsibilities, and Side Effects: Arendt, Beck, and the Politics of Acting into Nature
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And who are we? . . . the fact that attempts to defi ne the nature of man lead so easily into an idea which defi nitely strikes us as “superhuman” and therefore is identifi ed with the divine may cast a suspicion upon the very concept of human nature. On the other hand, the conditions of human existence— life itself, natality and ...
6 Articulating Ecological Ethics and Politics
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If ethics without politics is empty, then politics without ethics is blind.logical (ethical) responsibility begin to be envisaged in such a way that each informs the other and yet neither is made subject to the other? How do we dissolve the claims of sovereignty and yet retain a poli-tics informed by the Good where each is understood as an expression ...
7 Against Ecological Sovereignty
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Several recent texts (most notably, Eckersley 2004) have argued that given the ecologically destructive effects of unfettered economic glo-balization, good, pragmatic arguments exist for environmentalists to advocate and support a form of green state sovereignty. However, the key question concerning this strategy is not necessarily the plausibility, ...
APOLOGUE: In Relation to the Lack of Environmental Policy
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...ing and constituting ecological ethics and politics— so should one need to apologize for a lack of specifi c environmental policies? Should the book declaim on the necessity of using low- energy light bulbs or of increasing the price of gasoline? Alternatively, should one point out that such limited measures are an apology (a poor substitute) for the ...
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Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Posthumanities