Weaving Post-Ecocidally

High-Cultural (Philosophical) Transpositions 

Contributions to Law, Philosophy and Ecology: Exploring Re-Embodiments

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What is Kultur?

The Places of God

in An Age of Re-Embodiments

Ruth Thomas-Pellicer

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 “The fact that at present people all talk of things which they CANNOT have any experience, is true more especially and fortunately as concerns the philosopher and philosophical matters: [...] thinking itself is regarded by them as something slow and hesitating, almost as a trouble, and often enough as ‘worthy of the SWEAT of the noble’—but not at all as something easy [...], closely related to dancing and exuberance!

             Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, 1891

The Age of Re-Embodiments in the Global Geopolitcal Map

Processes of re-embodiment are a global social phenomenon. They are a popular and organized response against the excesses of Wester(nized) both modernity and postmodernity that also receive the firm support of international intellectual quarters and NGOs. These excesses are part of the colonial legacy. They are conspicuously epitomized in the international climate change regime (ICCR). The ICCR draws a geopolitical picture with three major actors –a core, a semiperiphery and a periphery. The core roughly coincides with the political and economic elites of the technologically-developed nations, the periphery with the non-technologically-developed ones. One must also register a semi-periphery, with an undefined status within the ICCR, made up of actors catching up with core status –elites in China, India, Brazil. The core disembodies the peripheries from their ecocycles and biorhythms alike so that it can use the resources and labourforce of the latter for its own development. We should therefore note that technology –a fortiori high-tech— and all the political and processes of nomization that the latter entail are the real battlefronts in the ICCR. They are the incarnate stumbling blocks of peace and equity. It follows that both geoengineering and technology transfer schemes far from being in the direction of climate justice are in that of more climate forcing. The periphery, however, is increasingly contesting this unfair geopolitical map by reclaiming and engaging in processes of re-embodiment. The latter are, to be sure, attempts at drawing a postcolonial map which could be called Age of Re-Embodiments to do justice to the phenomena under way. Processes for re-embodiment take various forms. Peripheral areas, to name one, are reclaiming food and energy sovereignty over their territories. They protest against the land dispossessions and landscape redefinitions that follow from such -5- ICCR-schemes as carbon trading and the Clean Development Mechanism. Analogously, climate debts are being politicised in order to register core-party abuses of the Earth's-carbon-cycling capacity. The most immediate remit of climate debts is, however, the cancellation of external debts, which force peripheral parties to ecocidal extractive economies. A steadily more concerted attempt to set up an international Tribunal for Climate Justice is an additional strategy towards re-embodiment. 

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(Spanish translation) 

La Época de las Re-Encarnaciones en el mapa geopolítico gobal


Los procesos de re-encarnación constituyen un fenómeno social global y plural. Se trata de un cúmulo de respuestas populares y organizadas frente a los excesos de la modernidad y posmodernidad occidental(izadas) que también recibe el apoyo firme de sectores intelectuales y ONGs internacionales. Dichos excesos son parte del legado colonial. No es de sorprender pues que el régimen internacional del cambio climático (RICC) los haya reproducido de forma muy fidedigna. En su mapa geopolítico, el RICC dibuja tres actores fundamentales –un centro, una semi-periferia y una periferia. El centro coincide con los sectores bienestantes en los países desarrollados tecnológicamente y elites en otros países que disfrutan de las mismas ventajas tecnológicas. La periferia, por us parte, está formada por los sectores populares en países tecnológicamente nosubdesarrollados y sectors desfavorecidos dentro de los los países desarrollados tecnológicamente. La semiperiferia tiene una forma indefinida. Esta compuesta por actores variopintos que aspiran al nivel tecnológico propio del centro. En cualquier caso, el centro desencarna las periferias de sus ecociclos y bioritmos para utilizar los recursos y la fuerza de trabajo de estos últimos para su propio desarrollo. Las periferias, empero, están embarcadas en múltiples procesos de re-encarnación en protesta a este injusto mapa geopolítico. Se trata de variadas tentativas para dibujar un mapa postcolonial que, para hacerle justicia, podríamos llamar Época de las Re-encarnaciones. Los procesos de re-encarnación toman formas variadas. Las zonas periféricas, por ejemplo, reclaman las soberanía alimentaría y energética sobre los territorios que habitan. Así consiguen defenderse de las usurpaciones territoriales y redefiniciones paisajistas que derivan de los programas del RICC como es el caso del comercio de carbono y el Mecanismo de Desarrollo Limpio. Paralelamente, se están politizando las deudas climáticas con el fin de registrar los abusos de la capacidad de reciclaje de carbono de la Tierra por parte del centro. La deuda climática tiene pero como objetivo más inmediato cancelar las injustas deudas externas que en si mismas son archi-ecocidas, pues fuerzan a los países llamados deudores a una devastadora economía de extracción. Los esfuerzos cada vez más consensuados a favor de la instauración de un Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática también forman parte de los procesos de re-encarnación que actualmente vive el Planeta.

Re-Embodiment Theory and the Fields of Knowledge

The BSA Theory Study Group symposium on the Age of Re-Embodiments —'Re-Imagining Our Sociological Contemporaneity: What is the Age of Re-Embodiments'—  aimed at exploring the theoretical implications of these global social phenomena. Re-Embodiment cuts across the social and natural sciences and reassembles both. It builds upon previous work upon embodiment theory from as varied fields as 20th-century philosophy, environmental sociology, ecofeminism, political economy, ethno-ecology and human geography. Re-embodiment theory equally builds upon classical and post-structuralist social theory and philosophy. It endorses those texts that critically analyse the ontic, epistemic and axic presuppositions of modern and postmodern times. 

Re-embodiment theory thus positions us in a terrain that is neither modern nor postmodern. The symposium on the Age of Re-Embodiments aims to explore and define this new –or perhaps very ancestral— terrain. It should exert an impact upon the same fields on which it relies. Namely, social theory, philosophy, environmental sociology, ecofeminism, political economy, ethno-ecology and human geography. 

Some Preliminary Contributions

For a preliminary contribution, please see Ruth Thomas-Pellicer et al. (eds), Contributions to Law, Philosophy and Ecology: Exploring Re-Embodiments, Glasshouse, Routledge (2016). 

Contributions to Law, Philosophy and Ecology: Exploring Re-Embodiments is,to be sure, a preliminary contribution to the establishment of re-embodiments as a theoretical strand within legal and ecological theory, and philosophy. 

Re-embodiments are all those contemporary practices and processes that exceed the epistemic horizon of modernity. As such, they offer a plurality of alternative modes of theory and practice that seek to counteract the ecocidal tendencies of the Anthropocence. 

The collection comprises eleven contributions approaching re-embodiments from a multiplicity of fileds, including legal theory, eco-philosophy, eco-feminism and anthropology. The contributions are organized into three parts: 'Beyond Modernity', 'The Sacred Dimension' and 'The Legal Dimesnion´. The collection is opened by a comprehensive introduction that situates re-embodiments in theoretical context. Whilst closely bound with embodiment and new materialist theory, this book contributes a unique voice that echoes diverse political processes contemporaneous to our times. 

Written in an elegant and accessible language, the book will appeal to undergraduates, postgraduates and established scholars alike seeking to understand and take re-embodiments further, both politically and theoretically.  

An In-Depth Contribution

For an in-depth study of the philosophical implications in the Western metaphysical trajectory of the Age of Re-Embodiments, please see Ruth Thomas-Pellicer, The Places of God in an Age of Re-Embodiments: What is Culture?, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2017). 

In an age of ecological decay, Western ontological and epistemological assumptions have to be revisited. This book offers such a revision. It opens with a critical analysis of the paradigm of sustainable development and problematically situates it within the ecocidal trajectory of Western metaphysics. In search of some tools for examining the ecological conundrum, the book develops a pool of new categories of knowledge called 'transpositions'. 

Though of cross-disciplinary nature, this work must be situated within the tradition of the post-Kantian critique of reason. To develop its own framework of analysis, it relies heavily upon Nietzsche's ouevre and that of part of his entourage (including Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida and Plotnitsky). Major inputs also come from the work of the ecophilosopher of science Patrick Curry and ecofeminsim at large. 

It will appeal to students and established scholars in environmental studies, ecology and philosophy.