The Distortion of Nature's Image: Reification and the Ecological Crisis

SUNY Press
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 Illustrates how the notion of an ecological society remains a decisively political question.
The global ecological crisis is upon us. From global warming to the long-term implications of ocean acidification, air and water pollution, deforestation, and the omnipresent dangers of nuclear technology the future of our planetary home is threatened. Yet in the midst of the unfolding crisis, the conventional ideologies of the twentieth century and their representations of nature remain unchallenged by both the defenders of capitalism and capitalism’s most radical critics. The Distortion of Nature’s Image illustrates how the anti-naturalism of late capitalist society, in which nature is reified into the emptiness of mere matter, simply a thing to be dominated, is subtly complemented by the failure of the Left to go both beyond the historic limitations of Marx’s nineteenth-century viewpoint and beyond anarchism’s blind faith in “natural law.” However, an alternative for comprehending nature and the ecological crisis as historical and socialphenomena remains open in the dialectical naturalism of Western Marxism and Murray Bookchin’s social ecology. By examining in closer detail how Bookchin’s social ecology politicizes the concept of nature, as well as how precursory models in Western Marxist thought provide a foundation for this, Damian Gerber illustrates how the notion of an ecological society remains a decisively political question.

“There are very few studies that bring anarchism into conversation with an ecological focus. Gerber’s book does this in extraordinary form, offering a critical but balanced overview.” — Simon Springer, author of The Anarchist Roots of Geography: Toward Spatial Emancipation
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About the author

 Damian Gerber is Lecturer at the University of Queensland and the Australian Catholic University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Mar 25, 2019
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Pages
244
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ISBN
9781438473567
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Language
English
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Genres
NATURE / Ecology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Ecological roots of our toubled time are deeper than its economic manifestations. Anguished posterity will look back on this 21st century as the bottleneck century. Bottleneck: Humanitys Impending Impasse was written to show how and why three converging trends have put humankind in much deeper peril than is generally acknowledged. First, there are many more of us inhabiting this planet than it can sustain. Second, technological advances of recent centuries have made gigantic and prodigal our per capita resource appetites and our per capita environmental impacts. Third, even though, as the symbol-using species, we humans conceivably could do better at anticipating future circumstances and planning ahead, our evolutionary heritage together with unanticipated dysfunctions of modern division of labor have kept us too preoccupied with short-term concerns. People today are dependent upon a fantastically intricate web of exchange relations (the market). Even when functioning normallyand not in a collapsed condition, as currentlythis system of relations has a serious and pervasive dehumanizing effect not adequately discerned by economists nor sociologists. Recognition of and adequate adaptation to the deteriorating ecological context of human life has been impeded. Human societies (even our own) are almost certainly going to act in ways that will make an inevitably difficult future unnecessarily worse. Factors analyzed in this book have made people seriously averse to the kind and extent of cooperation our difficult future will require. Together with the basic trio of disturbing trendshumans having become so numerous, so ravenous, and so short-sightedthis has made the nature of todays human prospect far more dire than most policymakers dare admit. It tempts even the wisest and most civic-minded to seek or promote remedial policies that will worsen the real predicament.
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