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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Dr Ben Campbell: Emergent Citizens of Techno-Nature

26th February 2009, 17:15, Seminar Room, Department of Anthropology


This is the ninth lecture in the Rhetoric of Personhood Seminar Series.

Since the discussions of personhood in the 1980s, the environment has crept into the frame to present new challenges of analysis and action.

Ecologically modern citizens are expected to reflect on their carbon footprints - BBC's Newsnight even helps us in this quest with features on 'Ethical Man'. Who is this personage? Anthropological contributions to rethink cultures of human-environmental relatedness need to question the imprint of scientific 'cosmology' in the governmentality of self and the non-human. Rather than cosmology, images of cosmedia portray paragons of ecological virtue, who are sanctified by celebrity honorings and media exposure, serving to convey the rest of humanity into appropriate compliance with market mechanisms for environmental protection. Alternative environmental citizenships, as evidenced in South Asia, are no less media cognizant, but have reworked colonial derogatory associations with wildness into positive valuations, which present post-folkloric reasons for ethical thinking of the social and the person-able as more than a human-centric notion of scientised political citizenship and resource calculus.

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