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Anthropocenic Global Capitalism: Conflicts, Crises and Ruptures of Time

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MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20

University of Sydney

Sydney, 2006

Australia

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What is the fate of the human species and the natural world?

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Evidence from geology, climatology, atmospheric chemistry, geochemistry and oceanography suggest that the earth has experienced a historic step-change in the relationship between human species and the natural world. In anthropocenic terms, human action and earth dynamics have converged; they can no longer be seen as disparate entities. Human inhabitants of the planet have perpetrated, and are facing, unprecedented environmental shifts. They include biodiversity loss, anthropogenic climate change and disruptions to the carbon cycle and nitrogen cycle. In a warmer world and a depleted biosphere, multiple risks emerge: melting ice flows, rising ocean acidity, extreme weather events, damage to agricultural systems and unequal social suffering. Most centrally, it is now evident, in retrospect, that the switch from organic surface energy to underground fossil energy has intertwined the time of earth with the time of human history.

Understanding the capitalist relations of power involved here requires that we rethink industrial capitalism in the historical context of a world system built upon unequal socio-ecological exchange between core and periphery. From a contemporary perspective, the formation of global capitalism has intensified the anthropocenic feedback loops associated with CO2 emissions /climate change and the universalised organisational frameworks of profit extraction and socio-ecological destruction. I will argue that an epochal conjuncture between the Anthropocene and global capitalism generates a cluster of time conflicts centred around time reckoning, temporality and the denial of coevalness. These time conflicts materialise in regard to the earth system and fossil fuel extraction, carbon-based commodity fetishism and global warming/greenhouse tipping point scenarios. Taken together, these materialisations of time conflict are generating a three-fold crisis within and across the earth system, global capitalism and human species being. Extrapolations of these crises will, in my view, rupture the dual epoch of anthropocenic global capitalism. I conclude by assessing the ramifications of this scenario.

Professor Wayne Hope is a researcher, teacher and media commentator with over twenty years experience. His specific areas of research include New Zealand economic, political and media history, public sphere analysis, the political economy of communication, sport – media relationships, globalization and time. His research has been published across a range of academic journals including Media, Culture and Society, International Journal of Communication, Time and Society. Dr Hope is a long standing member of the International Association of Media Communication Research (IAMCR) and a senior contributor to the Political Economy section. Dr Hope is joint editor of an online IAMCR journal entitled Political Economy of Communication. Dr Hope has taught in high schools, adult education courses and universities. At the Auckland University of Technology he is curriculum leader for undergraduate media communication courses and teaches a postgraduate course entitled Time, Temporality and Globalization. In 1999 Dr Hope was an inaugural winner of AUTs Distinguished Teaching Award.Dr Hope is also a regular media commentator who has appeared or spoken on TVNZ Breakfast, Face TV, Radio Live and Radio National Nine-to-Noon. He also contributes regular comment pieces for The Daily Blog NZ.

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MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20

University of Sydney

Sydney, 2006

Australia

View Map

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