Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Brara, Rita. “Introduction: What Might We Mean by the Anthropocene?” Contributions to Indian Sociology 55, no. 3 (October 2021): 307–23.

‘[T]here is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations.’
(Michel Foucault 1977: 27)

How do we interpret the Anthropocene,1 the current umbrella term for the ravaging displacements human beings have wrought on Earth, having cracked it out of shape, if not out of orbit, and driven other species away from hearth and home and increasingly out of existence? Is the Anthropocene what we notice and apprehend when the Earth malfunctions, as emanations from its brokenness in a manner that Heidegger’s (1971) thinking might suggest? Or as Bill Brown puts it, do we, ‘begin to confront the thingness of objects when they stop working for us…how the thing really names less an object than a particular subject-object relation’ (Brown 2001: 4)? Does the Anthropocene, then, signpost a seismic shift in the relationship of human beings both to the Earth and indeed to non-human and non-living nature—a change marked by indicators from the earth system sciences on the planet’s tipping points and reflected in our contemporary, lived experience?

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