Gods of the Anthropocene : geo-spiritual formations in the earth’s new epoch

Szerszynski, Bronislaw (2017) Gods of the Anthropocene : geo-spiritual formations in the earth’s new epoch. Theory, Culture and Society, 34 (2-3). pp. 253-275. ISSN 0263-2764

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In this paper I argue that we need not only to ‘decolonise’ the Anthropocene but also to ‘desecularise’ it – to be aware that in the new age of the Earth we may be coeval with gods and spirits. Drawing particularly on the work of Giles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and Georges Bataille, and using concepts from both thermodynamics and fluid dynamics, I start to develop an interdisciplinary theory of planetary spirit, and use this to speak of both the ‘laminar’ high gods of time that are being invoked to summon the story of Earth’s ongoing transformation into a canonical mythos, and the turbulent lower spirits of place which manifest particular, situated dynamics on an Earth crossed by interlocking gradients and flows of energy, value, power and entropy. I suggest that what might once have been distinct territorialised ‘cultures’ or ‘natures’ in which humans engaged in particular situated patterns of interaction with animals, spirits and other beings are increasingly being convened into a global multinatural system, what we might call a ‘combined and uneven geo-spiritual formation’.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Theory, Culture and Society
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The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theory, Culture and Society, 34 (2-3), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Theory, Culture and Society page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/tcs on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? anthropocenereligiongodsspiritsthermodynamicssemioticssociology and political scienceanthropologyreligious studiesgeneral social sciencessocial sciences(all) ??
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28 Oct 2016 10:24
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 10:18