Governing the anthropocene: agency, governance, knowledge

Delanty, Gerard and Mota, Aurea (2017) Governing the anthropocene: agency, governance, knowledge. European Journal of Social Theory, 20 (1). pp. 9-38. ISSN 1368-4310

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The growing body of literature on the idea of the Anthropocene has opened up serious questions that go to the heart of the social and human sciences. There has been as yet no satisfactory theoretical framework for the analysis of the Anthropocene debate in the social and human sciences. The notion of the Anthropocene is not only a condition in which humans have become geologic agents, thus signalling a temporal shift in Earth history: it can be seen as a new object of knowledge and an order of governance. A promising direction for theorizing in the social and human science is to approach the notion of the Anthropocene as exemplified in new knowledge practices that have implications for governance. It invokes new conceptions of time, agency, knowledge and governance. The Anthropocene has become a way in which the human world is re-imagined culturally and politically in terms of its relation with the Earth. It entails a cultural model, that is an interpretative category by which contemporary societies make sense of the world as embedded in the Earth, and articulate a new kind of historical self-understanding, by which an alternative order of governance is projected. This points in the direction of cosmopolitics – and thus of a ‘Cosmopolocene’ – rather than a geologization of the social or in the post-humanist philosophy, the end of the human condition as one marked by agency.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: agency, Anthropocene, cosmopolitics, deep history, governance, modernity, time
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Gerard Delanty
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2017 11:11
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2020 14:11

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