Call for Papers NGP Theme Issue 2021 - Re-worlding: Pluriversal politics in the Anthropocene
Nordia Geographical Publications Theme Issue 2021
Re-worlding: Pluriversal politics in the Anthropocene
Aapo Lunden & Carlos Tornel (eds.)
”The first fact about the contemporary world is accelerated growth.”
Hylland Eriksen (2016)
“Imagination also enables us to do things together politically: a new way of seeing the world can be a way of valuing it - a map of things worth saving, or of a future worth creating.”
Jedediah Purdy (2015)
“Covid-19 has exposed the extent to which we humans are not the only inhabitants of the Earth, nor are we set above other beings. We are criss-crossed by fundamental interactions with microbes and viruses and all sorts of vegetal, mineral and organic forces. More accurately, we are partly composed of these other beings. But they also decompose and recompose us. They make and unmake us, starting with our bodies, our environments and our ways of living and dying.”
Achille Mbembe (2020)
The Geographical Society of Northern Finland and the Geography Research Unit at the University of Oulu invite contributors to the Nordia Geographical Publications Theme Issue coming out in late 2021 with the topic Pluriversal Politics in the Anthropocene. The Nordia Geographical Publications is a peer-reviewed, open access academic journal focusing on contemporary conversations in Geography.
In describing the world experiencing accelerating change and multifaceted overheating, the anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen (2016) portrays contemporary times through powerful endings like the end of cheap nature, the end of traditional political thought and the end of overarching generalizations. The exhaustion of neoliberalism and the double bind that emerges from a relentless pursuit of economic growth and sustainability is leading to increasingly tangible forms of social and environmental unsustainability. Therefore, there is an urgency not only to move away from growth as we know it and reclaiming the commons, but for broader civilizational changes and transitions (Escobar, 2015; Kallis, et al., 2020).
As several authors have pointed out, the Anthropocene disrupts the Nature/Culture divide and highlights the impossibility of maintaining these realms apart (Chakrabarty, 2009; Latour, 2019). This division is not useful nor accurate (Purdy, 2015). For such authors, this collapse symbolises the impossibility of purely modern (Western) thought to provide modern solutions to our current problems (De la Cadena & Balsser, 2018). Or, as Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Arturo Ecobar (2004) would put it, ‘we are facing modern problems for which there are no modern solutions’.
Moving beyond modernity’s ever expanding faith in forms of technological and market-based fixes, “solutionisms” (Morozov 2013) and the trust in hacking our way out of trouble has become an imperative. Hence, new political strategies are needed to foreground ontological politics and the multiplicities of differences or ‘otherness’ instead of a binary or apotheotic thinking (Rose 2013). In order to conceptualise space for these necessary transitions, there is a need “to build on the notion of multiple realities and possibilities implicit in the agenda of many social movements'' (Escobar, 2020). Turning to such realities, or pluriversal politics, means engaging with multiple dialogic methods to ‘enhance appreciation of multiple ways of knowing and being in the world (...) that decenters models of science and development that have been portrayed as universally true and good (Paulson, 2018: 85).
Moreover, we aim to depart from recent debates seeking to ”name the system” in academic discussion mainly between framing our current epoch as the Anthropocene or Capitalocene (Moore 2015; Boneuil and Fressoz, 2016). While we see these discussions as a fruitful starting point, we instead turn our interest to the multiple scales of change and follow Hylland Eriksen’s approach in scaling down to the middle-ground. Here we are interested in conceptualizations that provide stronger multi-scalar linkages between the macro and micro, the global and the local (Hylland Eriksen, 2018) to analyse environmental and social changes in times of increasing shared and particular planetary vulnerabilities (Mbembe, 2020).
Some promising openings can be drawn from multiple literatures that inhabit this ‘middle-ground’. In our view, instead of more epochal overarching conceptualizations, more middle-level concepts are needed to analyse impacts, values and meanings of on-going environmental change. An example of such an approach comes from recent discussions linking the current planetary health crisis with environmental degradation trends such as the notion of “syndemic” (Horton, 2020) point not only to environmental drivers of vastly spread health risks, but also to failures of political and administrative imagination in capturing the risks and outcomes of on-going ecological degradation.
Additionally, placed-based examples include notions such as ‘grounded normativity’ (Coulthard & Simpson, 2016) and solastalgia (Albrecht et al. 2007; Hylland Eriksen, 2016; Eakin et al. 2019) pointing towards a need to recognise the differences and specificities of socio-environmental struggles. Simultaneously, these perspectives question the impositions of universal agendas/solutions and the normalization of environmental degradation through depoliticizing notions such as the Sustainable Development Goals (Hope, 2020). The ethical frameworks provided by Indigenous place-based practices and the experience of distress due to loss of livelihoods, identities and ecological functions from environmental changes, points towards an agenda with multiple paths towards transformation and justice.
Concepts like conviviality and Buen Vivir in Latin America, Degrowth in Europe and North America and a struggle for the commons elsewhere have highlighted these modes of transition beyond the Anthropocene towards a cosmopolitan or pluriversal process of Re-worlding (Salleh, 2020). As remarked by Karin Amimoto Ingersoll (2018): “[Too] much of the world proceeds without memory, as if the spaces we inhabit are blank geographies, and thus available for consumption and development.” In this light, the problems of our times are not based on a lack of development, progress or economic growth, “but in the conception of development itself as a linear, unidirectional, material, and financial growth, driven by commoditization and capitalist markets” (Kothari, et al. 2018: xxii).
Following some ideas introduced above and other similar conceptualisations, we invite authors to contribute in populating the middle-ground and discuss the pluriversal and ontological politics of the Anthropocene. We welcome the conceptual and theoretical, as well as empirical examples that describe living and thinking in times of environmental and social change, linking macro-micro level changes to specific contexts and geographies. The topics of the contribution include, but are not limited to:
- Multiple scales or multi-scalar clashes in the Anthropocene (Hylland Eriksen, 2016)
- Strategies, case studies and the politics of reclaiming the commons, resisting terricide (Escobar, 2020) and ecocide in the content of new and old forms of extractivisms (Dunlap, 2020)
- Conceptualising the double bind of economic growth and sustainability from different scales, places and mobitilities (e.g. in the fields of conservation, tourism or natural resource governance, (see Buscher & Fletcher, 2020)
- Assessments of the COVID-19 pandemic and planetary degradation as a crisis of life (syndemic and other combinatory concepts)
- Empirical examples and case studies of pluriversal politics in the global North or the global South, highlighting synergies and strategies for transitions and ontological politics (Escobar, 2015)
- Strategies and experiences that explore and engage with the ‘decolonization of the imaginary’(Latouche, 2009)
- Empirical and/or theoretical contributions exploring the contributions to ontological politics to broader conceptualizations of political economy or political ecology
- Problematizations of “plastic words”, development schemes and new versions of environmental “high modernity” (Scott, 1998; Sachs, 2018) through anti-political perspectives
- Transitions that aim to articulate changes from ‘predatory’ to ‘sensible’ or ‘essential’ forms of extractivism (Brand, 2020)
- The multiple ways that the environmental movements (new and old) can engage with pluriversal politics in the Anthropocene.
The contributions can take the form of:
● Peer reviewed research articles (ca. 6000–9000 words), academic essays or review articles (ca. 3000–6000 words).
● Editorially reviewed interventions and discussions (ca. 2000–4000 words).
Please note the following when submitting your manuscript to the 2021 NGP Theme Issue:
● Abstracts and manuscripts are submitted through the Journal.fi system in https://nordia.journal.fi/about/submissions
● The initial title and abstract deadline (500 words) is 31st of March 2021.
● The final deadline for manuscript submission is 15th of September 2021.
● Writing language is English. The author is responsible for proof-reading the manuscript.
● Please follow the instructions on formatting the text, tables and figures and bibliography that are available from the editors or from the Author Guidelines -page of the journal website.
● Nordia Geographical Publications is a peer-reviewed, open access academic journal.
In case of questions do not hesitate to contact the editors firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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