Carlos Garrido Castellano
Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Letras, Centro de Estudos Comparatistas
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Locating Human Agency in the Anthropocene. Environmental Universalism, Natural Catastrophes, and the Possibilities of Critique
Dedalus 19 (2015), pp. 109-129. Download PDF

This essay proposes a comparative analysis in which institutional critique is used as an illuminating lens through which the issues of security and risk can be addressed. It puts in evidence how, in the Anthropocene, human capacity to impact on the planet poses timely questions concerning security, agency and risk management. However, thoughtful critique is required to better understand the consequences of such actions and the topographies of the present geopolitical administration. Even though the Anthropocene model implies a sense of vicinity and proximity between members of a universal community, a re-evaluation of our position in such a global scale seems all the more necessary. The essay challenges us to see beyond the “neutral white cube” also in this context, as it moreover suggests that the idea of an imagined global landscape of shared responsibilities is somehow concealing the existence of inescapable inequalities that define different world cartographies, territories of insecurity and rather invisible ideological structures. By doing so, this text poses an ultimate question, interrogating who is, after all, the universal ‘we’ in the Anthropocene.