Special Issue "Social Justice at the End of Our World"

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Chloë Taylor

Women's and Gender Studies, University of Alberta, 116 St & 85 Ave, Edmonton, AB T6G 2C9, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: feminist philosophy; gender studies; sexuality studies; critical prison studies; animal ethics; environmental ethics; food politics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As we are all by now aware, we live in a time of anthropogenic climate change, rising sea levels, acidified oceans, catastrophic weather events, and an ever increasing poverty of life on Earth. Anthropogenic planetary change is the most pressing social and political concern of our time, with scientists describing a sixth Great Extinction that may well include our own species. Although by all appearances most humans—including most social justice scholars—are continuing with business as usual, we are also hurtling towards extinction and taking much planetary life with us, and this puts all of our political causes into question. We are not living at “the end of the world,” despite the popularity of this phrase in Social Science and Humanities literature on the Anthropocene; we are, however, living at the end of our world. This issue of Societies will provide a forum for discussions of what social justice theory and activism should look like in this end time.
 
Contributors to this issue are invited to explore questions such as: How do we engage in political struggles today, when our species may no longer have a long-term future? What do social justice perspectives contribute to an analysis of the causes and appropriate responses to what is being called the Anthropocene? How have the appropriation and exploitation of natural resources that have driven anthropogenic transformation of the planet been embedded in patriarchal, colonial and speciesist power? What becomes of many feminist and other social justice causes in the shadow of climate change, or when we think in terms of geopolitics and geohistorical time? Has the pressing social justice issue of our time become ensuring that adaptation, survival, and extinction occur as justly and painlessly as possible, and how may we pursue these objectives? Should survival be our political goal, or should the value of our species’ survival be put into question—and what other political goals might supercede that of human survival? Can there be any kind of justice for the countless nonhuman species that settler colonial humans and humans in the over-developed world are driving to extinction? Can we theorize social justice beyond the human? How do we continue to attend to immediate injustices in our communities, even while thinking in terms of geological time and planetary-scale catastrophes? How do we imagine Anthropocene ethics, Anthropocene politics, and Anthropocene feminism? How should we live and die in the Anthropocene?
 
Dr. Chloë Taylor

Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • climate change
  • mass extinction
  • environmental ethics
  • animal ethics
  • social justice studies
  • feminist theory

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
The Sedanthropocene: Nomadism, Ecology, Hypernormalization: Toward Reimagining the Holocene
Societies 2019, 9(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9010021
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
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Abstract
The various (s)cenes of Anthropocene discourse are attempts to conceptualize the problem of anthropogenic global warming and to better understand the problem with a view to possible solutions. This paper explores, in a series of theoretic vignettes, ways that these attempts are too [...] Read more.
The various (s)cenes of Anthropocene discourse are attempts to conceptualize the problem of anthropogenic global warming and to better understand the problem with a view to possible solutions. This paper explores, in a series of theoretic vignettes, ways that these attempts are too myopic and narrow, and tend to ignore the possibility that the most fundamental levels of social organization might be the very conditions under which other ‘cenes’ can function at all. Specifically, Jason Moore’s Capitalocene describes and explains many symptoms of a world enraptured by capital. However, the beginning of the Holocene marks an historical stage wherein humans changed their thoughts and behaviours in such a way as to make something like capitalism possible at all. The dualism that Moore cites as fundamental to the Capitalocene did not begin with Descartes, it began with anatomically modern humans circa 10,000 years ago. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Justice at the End of Our World)

Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper
The Intertwined Relationship between Power and Patriarchy: Examples from Resource Extractive Industries
Societies 2019, 9(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9010014
Received: 16 December 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 9 February 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (559 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the relationships between extractive industries, power and patriarchy, raising attention to the negative social and environmental impacts these relationships have had on communities globally. Wealth accumulation, gender and environment inequality have occurred for decades or more as a result of [...] Read more.
This study examines the relationships between extractive industries, power and patriarchy, raising attention to the negative social and environmental impacts these relationships have had on communities globally. Wealth accumulation, gender and environment inequality have occurred for decades or more as a result of patriarchal structures, controlled by the few in power. The multiple indirect ways these concepts have evolved to function in modern day societies further complicates attempts to resolve them and transform the social and natural world towards a more sustainable model. Partly relying on queer ecology, this paper opens space for uncovering some hidden mechanisms of asserting power and patriarchal methods of domination in resource-extractive industries and impacted populations. I hypothesize that patriarchy and gender inequality have a substantial impact on power relations and control of resources, in particular within the energy industry. Based on examples from the literature used to illustrate these processes, patriarchy-imposed gender relations are embedded in communities with large resource extraction industries and have a substantial impact on power relations, especially relative to wealth accumulation. The paper ends with a call for researchers to consider these issues more deeply and conceptually in the development of case studies and empirical analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Justice at the End of Our World)
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Open AccessEssay
Managing the Planet: The Anthropocene, Good Stewardship, and the Empty Promise of a Solution to Ecological Crisis
Societies 2018, 8(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8020038
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 5 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (291 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Anthropocene has emerged as the dominant conceptualization of the current geological epoch and, more significantly, of Humanity’s relation to nature. By its proponents the Anthropocene is espoused as a “solution formulation”, an analytical tool that clarifies Humanity’s multifarious impacts on nature and [...] Read more.
The Anthropocene has emerged as the dominant conceptualization of the current geological epoch and, more significantly, of Humanity’s relation to nature. By its proponents the Anthropocene is espoused as a “solution formulation”, an analytical tool that clarifies Humanity’s multifarious impacts on nature and nature’s subsequent crises, and further as a conceptual apparatus from which to launch mitigation and adaption strategies, promising deliverance from or at least engagement with ecological crises. However, the Anthropocene is not a neutral concept, merely illuminating transition within ecological conditions and connections between human activities and nature; rather, it is a particular prism from which to understand humanity’s relation to nature. And, as the Anthropocene becomes ascendant both analytically and politically, it becomes vital to question its imaginary, how it constructs nature and Humanity, how it influences and constrains responses to ecological crises, and what the long-term implications of operating within this imaginary are. I argue that the Anthropocene as a political/analytical prism rests upon flawed conceptions of nature, history, and humanity, rending it an impotent construct from which to respond to ecological crises; offering only partial and presumptive “solutions” in the form of intensified governmental regulation and the application of manifold technological “fixes” through the geoengineering of Earth’s systems in an attempt to address isolated aspects of ecological destruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Justice at the End of Our World)
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