Publication Details

Head, L. (2012). Earthly indifference and human difference - Book review. Progress in Human Geography: an international review of geographical work in the social sciences and humanities, 36 (5), 683-685.


Inspired by, but also in reaction to the flattened topologies of Latourian relationality, Clark puts forward the notion of radical asymmetry. 'This is the bottom line of human being: we are utterly dependent on an earth and a cosmos that is, to a large degree, indifferent to us' (p. 50). With their disciplinary connection to the physical and natural sciences, geographers arguably need this lesson less than other social scientists. We should have learned it well from geologists who, spending their working lives in deepest time, tend to have a less anthropocentric perspective than others (perhaps accounting for their disproportionate representation among scientists sceptical of anthropogenic climate change). Further, if we accept the tenets of evolutionary ecology, it is a total accident that we are here anyway, and we won't be for long, either as individuals or as a species. Just as the quietly joyful practice of everyday life flies in the face of certain death, all politics is optimism in the face of extinction.



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