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The production of an urban post-political ecology: Or, is the apocalypse really such a good thing?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lucy Goodman.

Note this talk is unusually on a Monday, thereafter unless otherwise specified, PE talks will be on a Tuesday 1-2pm. As this is the first session of term, there will be a short introduction at the beginning.

Since the early 2000s and the arrival of the new millennium, Apocalyptic discourse seems to permeate a great deal of public, private and academic culture. From the proliferation of films depicting heroes battling the end of all things through to the seemingly irresistible drive towards cultural and planetary annihilation heralded by the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, climate change, migrant/refugee crises and plastic straws. I take the apocalypse as a starting point to understand how ‘the urban’, broadly conceived, and radical democracy respond to an environmental pressure, such as climate change. The literature appears divided, typified by Zizek’s claim the apocalypse is necessary for revolutionary politics as it makes explicit currently disavowed forms of inequality and power, and Swyngedouw’s argument that the Apocalypse, through the production of a terrifyingly catastrophic lack of future, leads to the production of a post-politics of technomanagerialism. This presentation does not pretend to offer an way out of this stalemate, but rather plays with the role of Political Ecology in understanding Post-Politics and the urban in the Anthropocene. Utilising visual semiotics and Lacanian psychoanalysis, I will explore my fieldsite of Elephant & Castle, South London, and the literature to explore the basis for an ‘Urban Post-Political Ecology’.

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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