Geosocial Strata (Dr Kathryn Yusoff, Queen Mary University of London)
IAS Fellow's Public Lecture
The Anthropocene is the name given to the massive destratification of the planet (of the earth’s sub-surface, oceans, atmospheres, polar regions etc.). As a new geologic epoch, it prompts analysis of the relations between geologic forces and social practices. Awareness of how social worlds are an effect of and affect geology, rather than a world that is constituted through ‘our’ making (i.e. purely social), suggests an arrangement of power that is complicated by geologic relations.
This lecture is free and open to all.
Identifying geologic force as a new regime of power in planetary politics brings the structures of exchange between geologic strata and social worlds into view. If power, according to Foucault, is a relation between forces, “geosocial strata” conceptualizes how stratifications organize and capture forces into political geology. This paper develops a concept of geosocial strata to examine the expression of social forms as a product of geologic forces in the Anthropocene. Geosocial strata, it is argued, are planes of social reproduction that both constrain and enable possible modes of expression (and thus political freedom).
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