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Earthing the Anthropos? From ‘socializing the Anthropocene’ to geologizing the social

Clark, Nigel and Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2016. Earthing the Anthropos? From ‘socializing the Anthropocene’ to geologizing the social. European Journal of Social Theory, 20(1), pp. 146-163. ISSN 1368-4310 [Article]

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Responding to claims of Anthropocene geoscience that humans are now geological agents, social scientists are calling for renewed attention to the social, cultural, political and historical differentiation of the Anthropos. But does this leave critical social thought’s own key concepts and categories unperturbed by the Anthropocene provocation to think through dynamic earth processes? Can we ‘socialize the Anthropocene’ without also opening ‘the social’ to climate, geology and earth system change? Revisiting the earth science behind the Anthropocene thesis and drawing on social research that is using climatology and earth systems thinking to help understand socio-historical change, this article explores some of the possibilities for ‘geologizing’ social thought. While critical social thought’s attention to justice and exclusion remains vital, it suggests that responding to Anthropocene conditions also calls for a kind of ‘geo-social’ thinking that relates human diversity and social difference to the potentiality and multiplicity of the earth itself.

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Anthropocene, climate change, deep time, earth science, geology, geo-social futures, Holocene, social difference

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10 August 2016Published Online
10 July 2016Accepted

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Date Deposited:

10 Oct 2016 10:41

Last Modified:

27 Feb 2019 16:29

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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