The Anthropocene

Clark, Nigel (2019) The Anthropocene. In: International Encyclopedia of Human Geography :. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 139-145. ISBN 9780081022955

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The Anthropocene hypothesis proposes that human impacts have nudged the Earth system into a novel operating state. Despite the explicit focus on human geological agency, the idea of a planet with multiple states is part of a broader move in geoscience away from gradualism towards recognition of planetary variability, volatility and multiplicity. Human geographers and other critical social thinkers have taken issue with Anthropocene science for what they see as its universalistic view of humankind, its failure to account for different human voices, and its technocratic framing of Earth system change. But there are questions about whether geography’s current prioritizing of socio-spatial relations permits it to fully confront the provocations of planetary dynamism and multiplicity. In an important new turn, some geographers are exploring new ways to rethink human politics, subjectivity and identity through the forces and potentialities of Earth processes – which effectively complements the critical task of `socializing’ geological thought with a new `geologizing’ of social thought. Such willingness to work creatively with insights from the Earth sciences also raises difficult but promising questions about how to engage with indigenous and other marginalized ways of knowing - or what we might see as the imperative to `decolonize the Earth’.

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01 Oct 2019 08:50
Last Modified:
27 Apr 2024 23:23