Repoliticizing the Anthropocene

6-7 January 2020 // Systems of Social and Technological Organization
Davide Scarso, Elizabeth Johnson

The Anthropocene has been described both as the token of a global environmental awareness and as a inherently depoliticizing notion, promoting a technocratic rule of experts oblivious to social justice and democratic participation. At the same time, political agency appears split between a longing for systemic change through the intervention of global institutions and reliance on the individual responsibility of all of us citizens-consumers.
The invention of new political approaches to the socio-environmental problems that we are facing today and, probably in harsher conditions, in the near future implies a radical engagement with the non-human components of the world. Nonetheless, a distinction between human social life and natural phenomena often constitute an inescapable reference for thinking political action itself, at least in an emancipatory perspective.
By discussing fundamental notions like “Sustainability”, “Decarbonization”, “Capitalocene” or “Green New Deal”, this seminar will explore the tensions between the need to “politicizing nature” and the always-impending risk of “naturalizing politics”, asking under which conditions and through which processes the Anthropocene could be the site for experimenting new forms of autonomous and more egalitarian collective organization.