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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Lectures 2014/15



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ANTHROPOCENIC PROMISES. The End of Nature, Climate Change and the Process of Post-Politicization

THESys Lecture

Thurs, 5 February 2015, 17 ct, Humboldt Graduate School, Festsaal

In his presentation, Erik Swyngedouw shall explore how the elevation of the environment to a public concern is both a marker of and constituent force in the production of contemporary forms of de-politicization. In the first part, he problematizes the question of Nature and the environment through the lens of the Anthropocenic hypothesis. In a second part, the emblematic case of climate change policy will be presented as cause célèbre of de-politicization. He argues how climate matters were brought into the domain of politics, but articulated around a particular imag(in)ing of what a ‘good’ climate or a ‘good’ environment is, while the political was systematically evacuated from the terrain of the – now Anthropocenic – environment. The third part will relate this argument to the views of political theorists who have proposed that the political constitution of contemporary western democracies is increasingly marked by the consolidation of post-political arrangements. In the fourth section, Erik Swyngedouw discusses the climate change consensus in light of the post-political thesis. He shall conclude that the matter of the environment in general, and climate change in particular, needs to be displaced onto the terrain of the properly political.

The lecture is partly supported by Entitle (European Network of Political Ecology).

 Erik Swyngedouw

Erik Swyngedouw is Professor of Geography at Manchester University. His research interests include political-ecology, urban governance, democracy and political power, and the politics of globalization. He was previously professor of geography at Oxford University and held the Vincent Wright Visiting Professorship at Science Po, Paris, 2014. His forthcoming book with MIT-Press focuses on water and social power in 20th century Spain. He is currently preparing a book manuscript on the urban and environmental dynamics of de- and re-politicization.

Location: Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstrasse 56, 10115 Berlin, Festsaal (2nd floor)

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