The Unconstructable Earth

Frédéric Neyrat, The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation (Meaning Systems) – October 2018

Translated by Drew S. Burk

 

The Anthropocene announces a post-natural planet that can be remade at will through the process of geoengineering. With it, a new kind of power, geopower, takes the entire Earth, in its social, biological, and geophysical dimensions, as an object of knowledge, intervention, and governmentality. This shift has been aided, wittingly or not, by theorists of the constructivist turn who have likewise called into question the divide between nature and culture and have thus found themselves helpless against the project to replace Earth with Earth 2.0.

Against both camps, this book confronts the unconstructable Earth, proposing an “ecology of separation” that acknowledges the wild, subtractive capacity of nature. Against technocratic delusion, but equally against a racially tinged organicism, Neyrat shows what it means to appreciate Earth as an unsubstitutable becoming that cannot be replicated in a laboratory and that always escapes the hubris of those who would remake and master it.


This book received a French Voice Award in 2018.


This is a book of great interest that addresses a topic of considerable concern among environmentalists in North America and Western Europe today—how to find a third way between ‘eco-modernism’ and an organic and holistic nature.- Ursula Heise, University of California, Los Angeles

An unflinching critique of geoengineering, this book offers hope in a sliver of uncolonized, unmapped, unconstructed space and time, amid the super-storms of ideology, the teleology of historicism, and the bad faith of political actors with vested interests. Planet earth is not an object or a subject, but a trajectory in time and space toward anti-production, entropy, perhaps extinction—cause for a new political ecology in the time of 400+ ppm of C02.- Karen Pinkus, author of Fuel: A Speculative Dictionary

A vitally important book that stakes out a new position in the environmental humanities.- Steven Shaviro, Wayne State University

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