Sophie Silverstein: I Want You to Panic (lecture), 2 Dec 2019 13:00
2 Dec 2019 13:00, U2/326, Údolní 53
Sophie Silverstein: I want you to panic: lessons from the metabolic rift for an environmental care ethic (lecture)
Destructive climate change has regular negative embodied effects, producing untenable living conditions where breathing is constricted, communities are drowned, and homes tremble and collapse. Marxist theory roots this destruction in capitalist modes of production, which disrupt the healthy metabolism between humans and nature that is ideally balanced in pre-capitalist subsistence production. The crisis that capitalist production brings about has been characterized as a “metabolic rift”, or a breakdown in the metabolism that keeps humans and nature alike alive and well. I will think this notion of breakdown together with Magdalena Górska’s conceptualization of anxiety and panic attack as embodied manifestations of social oppression. Specifically, her insight, that panic produces conditions that are “simultaneously immobilizing and empowering” will lead to the exploration of a number of connected questions: What does the notion of embodiment on an individual and planetary level do to help us understand our fundamental vulnerability to both one another and the natural world we live in? How does the ambivalence of the panic attack allow an analysis of responsible political action in the context of these vulnerabilities? The talk will end in articulating how the joint Marxist and feminist analysis of capitalist climate degradation can inform a care ethic approach to the environment, departing from Joan Tronto’s approaches to care. The now-famous words that Greta Thunberg addressed to world leaders at the World Economic Forum at the beginning of this year, “I want you to panic”, form that starting point for this ethical enquiry.