Contesting capitalist sorcery: ‘peak everything’ as apocalyptic prophecy

Reid-Bowen, P (2014) 'Contesting capitalist sorcery: ‘peak everything’ as apocalyptic prophecy.' Skepsi, 6. pp. 15-26. ISSN 1758-2679

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This position article reflects on the ambiguous relationship between discourses of apocalypse and collapse, focusing on some contemporary writers who are concerned with theorising the unfolding crises (climatological, ecological, energy, economic and resource) and consequent collapse of global industrial civilisation. First, it is asked whether collapse theorists can be characterised as apocalypticists, particularly in so far as they tend to resist utilising the language of eschatology, soteriology and theology, endeavour to advance a robust evidential and scientifically modelled basis for their claims and stress that collapse is (probably) not the end of the world and/or human history. Secondly, through a reading of Pignarre and Stengers’ Capitalist Sorcery (2011), an argument is advanced that collapse theorists ought to embrace the rhetoric of apocalypticism. It is noted that, while the end of capitalism has become notoriously difficult to imagine, Pignarre and Stengers elaborate a new pragmatics, wherein activism might be sustained beyond singular socio-political events, albeit only once one begins to think that ‘another world is possible.’ The proposal advanced here is for collapse theorists to risk a pragmatic apocalypticism specifically as a means of messaging collapse more effectively, affecting socio-political change and resisting the worst possible outcomes of collapse.

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Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2015 13:48
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:39
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