The post-ecologist condition:irony as symptom and cure

Szerszynski, Bronislaw (2007) The post-ecologist condition:irony as symptom and cure. Environmental Politics, 16 (2). pp. 337-355. ISSN 0964-4016

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Resources for an authentic response to the ‘post-ecologist condition’ as described by Ingolfur Blühdorn can be found in a cultural modernism which emphasises the contradictory nature of the human condition and whose master trope is irony. The concept of irony can help us both diagnose and respond to the crisis in public meaning which helps sustain unsustainable behaviour. Forms of dispositional irony, in which private and public meaning are disconnected from each other, are symptomatic of the post-ecologist condition; in response, forms of communicative irony are used by environmental movements to expose such dispositions and strategies. However, such tactics can only serve as partial and limited responses to the problem of unsustainability, unless they are embedded within and shaped by a generalised ironic stance towards the world and oneself. The contribution concludes by sketching elements of an environmentalism informed by this ironic ‘world relation’.

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Journal Article
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Environmental Politics
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25 Nov 2013 09:07
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 01:11