Climate Change and the Anthropos
Planet, People and Places
By Linda Connor
Routledge – 2016 – 224 pages
Anthropos, in the sense of species as well as cultures and ethics, locates humans as part of much larger orders of existence – fundamental when thinking about climate change. This book offers a new way of thinking about the significance of locality and everyday life in relation to climate change. Many scholars now write about the ethics, policies and politics of climate change, focusing on global processes and effects. The book’s innovative approach to cross-cultural comparison and a regionally based ethnographic study moves beyond the political assertions and expert understandings filtered by the mass media. Rather, it asks fundamental questions about the social impact and cultural meanings of global warming and its impact on diverse human worlds embedded in a changing biosphere.
The regional focus of the book is the Asia Pacific – the engine room of global economic growth in the 21st century, the largest user of the planet’s natural resources, and the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. The book’s core analysis – a case study of the Hunter Valley in Southeast Australia – highlights the details of a specific locale that is an integral part of the Asia Pacific economic nexus. The book traces connections and contests of communities, citizens and states in the region, shaped by circumstances such as rapid economic growth in East Asia, heavy dependence on fossil fuels, and high levels of exposure to climate change impacts in a region where six of the world’s ten countries most at risk are located, notably in the low-lying Pacific Island countries.
Through interdisciplinary methods of anthropology, psychology and cultural analysis, the book approaches the social and cultural dimensions of climate change holistically, linking the large time scales of human species and the planet with small places and global commodity chains, local activism and transnational politics, collective reason and cultural critique.
1. The Anthropos in Climate Change 2. Life and Time in a Carboniferous Zone 3. Climate Crisis and its Counterpoints 4. Living with Environmental Change 5. Conflicts over Carbon 6. Fragile Futurity
Professor Linda Connor is Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Sydney, Australia.