The multiple Anthropocenes: toward fracturing a totalising discourse

International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)

No.4, 2018


The multiple Anthropocenes: toward fracturing a totalising discourse (Abstract)


Christopher J. Preston


In recent years, a new management philosophy revolving around ideas of the “post-natural” and “post-wild” has gained currency in environmental thinking. This discourse often employs the term The Anthropocene to capture the idea of a whole new era of thought and management philosophy. A look at the differences between what might be called the “terrestrial,” the “atmospheric”, and the “marine” Anthropocenes suggests that, despite the buzz carried by the term, this discourse is more fractured than it initially appears. In place of a totalising Anthropocene discourse, there should be - at the very least - a more careful discourse of multiple Anthropocenes. Attention should also be paid to the disregard for common language use that a totalising Anthropocene discourse tends to engender. The concepts of both “nature” and “the wild” are still very much alive, as evidenced in part by the growing prominence of rewilding efforts in Europe. Traditional ideas of nature and the wild likely have important roles to play, even in an era of significant anthropogenic change.