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Geoengineering and geologic politics

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2013
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


Early engagement with geoengineering by social scientists indicates a certain suspicion over the motives and modes of operation of scientific research in the field. In part, this reflects the prominence of the critique of the politics of emergency in recent social and political thought: a thematisation that links securitisation measures with foreclosures of the political. This paper turns the attention back on the social sciences, arguing that recent styles of ontological and political thought do not prepare us well for engaging with geologic issues in general, and geoengineering in particular. It is suggested that, rather than viewing geoengineering discourses and imaginaries as a retreat from politics, we might view them as playing an important role in opening up new kinds of politics oriented towards earth systems and their dynamics. This new ‘geologic politics’ involves a turn from issues hinging on territorial divisions of the earth’s surface toward the strata that compose the deep temporal earth. As a political challenge, the question of how to live with dynamic and stratified earth systems not only promises to extend the scope of politics, but also points to the ‘inhuman’ limits of the political per se.