Pragmatism, anti-representational theory, and local methods for critical-creative ecological action

Jones, O (2020) 'Pragmatism, anti-representational theory, and local methods for critical-creative ecological action.' In: Wills, J and Lake, B, eds. The power of pragmatism: knowledge production and social inquiry. Manchester University Press, Manchester. ISBN 9781526134943

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Pragmatism in its various forms offers creative, collective, ecological forms of thinking-in-action (praxis). Pragmatism is related to non-representational modes of knowledge and together these form a family of knowledge practices that are at odds with modern forms of reductive, representational knowledge. Alternative forms of knowledge practice are needed to counter the thrust of modern knowledge and the destructive consequences it has unleashed on the earth. If the radical impulses of pragmatism and non-representation are fully embraced, a position of anti-representational theory (ART) can be achieved. The crisis of modernity, particularly its ecological component, is an existential threat, not to life on earth per se but to the current ‘settlement’ of Gaia in the form of the biosphere which is home to human and non-humans alike. Since at least the middle of the 20th century, the extent of the global ecological crisis, labelled by some as ecocide, has become starkly clear but political, cultural, and ethical responses to it in the developed world have been minimal. This is in part because these responses remain trapped within the reductive logics of modern (scientific) approaches to knowledge production. This chapter seeks to set out why pragmatist, non-representational, and anti-representational approaches are needed for creative and effective responses not only to the ecological crisis but also to the wider crisis of modern knowledge and one of its key outcomes – neoliberal-enabled globalized, consumer capitalism. I argue that these alternative forms of knowledge practice are ecological in their embracing of process and interconnectivity and that they can offer forms of locally articulated, creative, radical incrementalism within the meshwork of unfolding collective life.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section

non-representational theory, anti-representational theory, provocative pragmatism, ecocide, ecology

Divisions: School of Sciences
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2018 12:24
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:51
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