Date/Time: Wed 29 Mar / 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Geopolitan Democracy in the Anthropocene
Presented by Robyn Eckersley
The proposed new epoch of the Anthropocene, whereby humans have become the dominant geological force shaping Earth systems, has attracted considerable interest in the social sciences and humanities but only scant attention from democratic theorists. This paper draws out the democratic problems associated with two opposing narratives on governing the Anthropocene – Earth Systems governance and ecomodernism – and juxtaposes them with a more critical narrative that draws out the democratic potential of the Anthropocene as a new source of critique of liberal democracy and a new resource for democratic renewal. Whereas Ulrich Beck welcomed reflexive cosmopolitan democracy (understood as a civil culture of responsibility across borders) as the appropriate response to the world risk society, this narrative offers a more down-to-Earth account of hyper-reflexive ‘geopolitan democracy’ based on a more radical extension of democratic imaginaries of space, time, community and agency at the local level as the appropriate response to navigating the complexities of the Anthropocene.
Robyn Eckersley is a Professor in Political Science in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne and a member of the Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia. She has published widely in the fields of environmental politics, democratic theory and international relations, with a special focus on the politics and governance of climate change. Her books include The Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty (MIT Press, 2004); Political Theory and the Ecological Challenge (CUP, 2006, co-editor); The State and the Global Ecological Crisis (MIT Press, 2005, co-editor); Special Responsibilities: Global Problems and American Power (2012, co-author); Why Human Security Matters (2012, co-editor) and Globalization and the Environment (2013) (co-author). She is currently editing The Oxford Handbook on International Political Theory with Chris Brown (LSE) and working on a book with the provisional title What Makes a Cli mate Leader?: Developed Countries’ Responsibilities under the International Climate Regime.
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