Green Populism?: Action and mortality in the anthropocene

Davies, Will. 2020. Green Populism?: Action and mortality in the anthropocene. Environmental Values, 29(6), pp. 647-668. ISSN 0963-2719 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The rise of ‘populism’, often conflated with authoritarianism, is frequently viewed as being antagonistic to environmental values, where the latter are associated with ‘liberal elites’. However, with a less pejorative understanding of populism, we might be able to identify elements within that can be usefully channelled and mobilised towards the urgent rescue of human and non-human life. This paper seeks to illuminate a ‘green populism’ using Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the tension between science and politics. In Arendt’s account, Western philosophy and science is predicated on a rejection of the mortal realm of politics, in search of eternal laws of nature. However, the pressing mortality of nature has pushed it back into the political realm, shrinking the distance between science and politics. Where nature itself is defined by its mortality, environmentalism and political action acquire a common logic, that could fuel a participatory, green populism.

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Additional Information:

‘This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted following peer review for publication in Environmental Values.’


Anthropocene, Arendt, experts, mortality, populism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics > Political Economy Research Centre


17 October 2019Accepted
7 January 2020Published Online
December 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

21 Oct 2019 11:43

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 07:41

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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