Recovering from an ill-fated intervention of a dog fight over the weekend that left my right arm with three punctures and several rips and tears. (Note to self: let the dogs work it out on their own in the future.) Healing well and with minimal pain, and the dogs are fine.
Meanwhile, I’m preparing a summary of three articles from the special climate change issue of the sociology journal Theory, Culture & Society. Here are three teaser quotes from the authors of those articles:
Climate Change is taking on a remarkable role in our shared lives. It has become much more than a scientific description of the changes occurring to physical climates around the world – from the thinning Arctic ice, to the warming of European winters, to the melting of Himalayan glaciers. Climate change has become both a resourceful idea and a versatile explanation which can be moulded and mobilized to fulfil a bewildering array of political, social and psychological functions. It is an idea as impressive, complex and slippery as democracy and an explanation as ubiquitous, alluring and yet inadequate as our genes…..
Our destiny does not unfold from the future climates predicted by Earth system models, any more than our destiny is determined by our geography or by our genes, or indeed that our destiny is written in the stars. We do not have ‘one hundred months’ to save the planet.
Mike Hulme- Cosmopolitan Climates: Hybridity, Foresight and Meaning (PDF)
At the symbolic level, apocalyptic imaginaries are extraordinarily powerful in disavowing or displacing social conflict and antagonisms. As such, apocalyptic imaginations are decidedly populist and foreclose a proper political framing. Or, in other words, the presentation of climate change as a global humanitarian cause produces a thoroughly depoliticized imaginary, one that does not revolve around choosing one trajectory rather than another, one that is not articulated with specific political programs or socio-ecological project or revolutions.
Eric Swyngedouw- Apocalypse Forever? Post-political Populism and the Spectre of Climate Change (PDF)
Climate facts arise from impersonal observation whereas meanings emerge from embedded experience. Climate science thus cuts against the grain of common sense and undermines existing social institutions and ethical commitments at four levels: communal, political, spatial and temporal. The article explores the tensions that arise when the impersonal, apolitical and universal imaginary of climate change projected by science comes into conflict with the subjective, situated and normative imaginations of human actors engaging with nature. It points to current environmental debates in which a reintegration of scientific representations of the climate with social responses to those representations is taking place. It suggests how the interpretive social sciences can foster a more complex understanding of humanity’s climate predicament. An important aim of this analysis is to offer a framework in which to think about the human and the social in a climate that seems to render obsolete important prior categories of solidarity and experience.
Sheila Jasanoff- A New Climate of Society (PDF)