Against Ecological SovereigntyEthics, Biopolitics, and Saving the Natural World

Against Ecological SovereigntyEthics, Biopolitics, and Saving the Natural World

Mick Smith

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816670284

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Abstract

This book presents a passionate defense of radical ecology that speaks directly to current debates concerning the nature, and dangers, of sovereign power. Engaging the work of Bataille, Arendt, Levinas, Nancy, and Agamben, among others, the book reconnects the political critique of sovereign power with ecological considerations, arguing that ethical and political responsibilities for the consequences of our actions do not end with those defined as human. The book turns Agamben’s analysis of sovereignty and biopolitics toward an investigation of ecological concerns. In doing so, it exposes limits to that thought, maintaining that the increasingly widespread biopolitical management of human populations has an unrecognized ecological analogue—reducing nature to a “resource” for human projects. The book contends that a radical ecological politics must resist both the depoliticizing exercise of sovereign power and the pervasive spread of biopolitics in order to reveal new possibilities for creating healthy human and nonhuman communities.