Publication Details

Head, L. M. & Gibson, C. R. (2012). Becoming differently modern: Geographic contributions to a generative climate politics. Progress in Human Geography: an international review of geographical work in the social sciences and humanities, 36 (6), 699-714.


Anthropogenic climate change is a quintessentially modern problem in its historical origins and discursive framing, but how well does modernist thinking provide us with the tools to solve the problems it created? On one hand even though anthropogenic climate change is argued to be a problem of human origins, solutions to which will require human actions and engagements, modernity separates people from climate change in a number of ways. On the other, while amodern or more-than-human concepts of multiple and relational agency are more consistent with the empirical evidence of humans being deeply embedded in earth surface processes, these approaches have not sufficiently accounted for human power in climate change, nor articulated generative pathways forward. We argue that recent research in human geography has much to offer because it routinely combines both deconstructive impulses and empirical compulsions (ethnographic, material, embodied, practice-based). It has a rather unique possibility to be both deconstructive and generative/ creative. We bring together more-than-human geographies and cross-scalar work on agency and governance to suggest how to reframe climate change and climate change response in two main ways: elaborating human and non-human continuities and differences, and identifying and harnessing vernacular capacities.



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