This article situates the concept of destituent power as a historically specific, still unfinished problematization of political thought and practice in the Anthropocene. It explores multiple, conflicting understandings and manifestations of destitution as they relate to climate change, civilizational breakdown, and political practice, suggesting that experimental practices of destitution as “exiting” are increasing in number and political potential alongside infrastructural and ecological crises. However, too often readers and theorists overemphasize this form-of-life-centric and use-centric version of the concept, thereby risking reproducing the political impasses the concept seeks to overcome, mirroring dominant counterrevolutionary depictions of life in the Anthropocene. In contrast, bringing work by Idris Robinson and Alexandre Monnin together with urban climate adaptation examples, this article explores an emergent destitution-as-negation perspective that attempts to respond to these impasses. The article concludes by asking what it might mean and require to destitute the Anthropocene, as not only an environmental matter but also one dominated by particular governmental, economic, and knowledge systems.
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January 1, 2023
Kieran Aarons Idris Robinson
Research Article| January 01 2023
South Atlantic Quarterly (2023) 122 (1): 121–136.
Stephanie Wakefield; Anthropocene Destitution. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2023; 122 (1): 121–136. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-10242700
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