Our Common Future at Thirty
Edited by James Meadowcroft, David Banister, Erling Holden, Oluf Langhelle, Kristin Linnerud and Geoffrey Gilpin
Chapter 12: Sustainability and the politics of transformations: from control to care in moving beyond modernity
Contemporary environmental debates reverberate with talk of a new ‘Anthropocene epoch’, strictly defined by human domination. The catastrophic threats we face are said to require a ‘great transition’ towards ‘planetary management’. Under growing environmental authoritarianism, democracy is increasingly cast as a failure, a luxury, or even an enemy of nature. Scientific and policy knowledges are becoming increasingly imprinted by preoccupations of incumbent power with rhetorics of control. Under this growing political mood, there seems ‘no alternative’ but compliance, or irrational denial and existential doom. Yet there are alternative ways to address the gravity of current ecological and social imperatives. Democratic struggle is the principal means by which knowledges and practices of sustainability were shaped in the first place. The author argues that concentrated power and fallacies of control are more problems than solutions. History shows the greatest ongoing forms of transformative progress owe more to plural knowledges and values and unruly, hope-inspired agonistic contention, than to single orderly technical ‘transitions’ based on science or structured control. The most effective modes for radical change often lie in spontaneous collective bottom-up ‘culturings’ of both knowing and doing together. Real hope of radically progressive social transformation may lie more in the mutualities of caring, than in the hierarchies of control. Among the greatest obstacles to this, are ideologies of technocratic transition.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.