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Everyday Environmentalism

Everyday Environmentalism: Creating an Urban Political Ecology

Alex Loftus
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Everyday Environmentalism
    Book Description:

    Everyday Environmentalism develops a conversation between marxist theories of everyday life and recent work in urban political ecology, arguing for a philosophy of praxis in relation to the politics of urban environments. Alex Loftus reformulates—with the assistance of Lukács, Gramsci, Lefebvre, and others—a politics of the environment in which everyday subjectivity is at the heart of a revolutionary politics.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8011-5
    Subjects: Geography

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction Emerging Moments in an Urban Political Ecology
    (pp. ix-xxvi)

    THIS BOOK IS ABOUT REMAKING OUR WORLD. If this is an overambitious task that smacks of the worst combinations of utopianism and hubris, this is not intended. Indeed the desire for the world to be radically different is, I would argue, a commonplace one: nearly always more a stifled anger than a revolutionary cry, the challenge, surely, is to understand the movement of this anger, to learn from it, build on it, and transcend it in both humble and democratic ways. Because of this, the book develops an immanent critique of everyday life. In no way is this critique built...

  5. Chapter 1 The Urbanization of Nature Neil Smith and Posthumanist Controversies
    (pp. 1-20)

    ONE OF THE CENTRAL PREMISES OF THIS BOOK is that any framework that seeks to separate nature and society into discrete realms is utterly disabling for a radical and liberatory politics. For an environmental politics, such a view fails practically in that it cannot capture the myriad ways in which the nature we experience on a daily basis is actively constituted throughnonnatural processes. The innocent romance of the Lake District, to take just one example, has been shaped by centuries of socio-natural struggle producing complex field systems and grazing patterns that are so fundamental to the natural landscape....

  6. Chapter 2 Sensuous Socio-Natures The Concept of Nature in Marx
    (pp. 21-44)

    UNTIL RECENTLY, women, and very occasionally men, would make a daily trek to a locked standpipe in the collection of shacks known as Palestine, an area situated within Amaoti, itself a part of Inanda, one of Durban’s largest areas of informal housing. The standpipe was operated by a bailiff, who charged local residents some of the highest water rates anywhere in the municipality. This ad hoc arrangement had developed over the previous decade when local councillors struck deals with subcontractors: private fiefdoms of water bailiffs had grown up, tacitly supported by the municipality that provided the potable water, tanked into...

  7. Chapter 3 Cyborg Consciousness Questioning the Dialectics of Nature in Lukács
    (pp. 45-74)

    RETURNING TO THE SITUATION in Amaoti referred to in chapter 2, there seems to be something about the sensuous laboring acts of women that generates conditions of possibility for the radical response to the cessation of water supplies that was witnessed. This should not be romanticized. Rather, a profoundly gendered division of labor ensures a distribution of tasks that is generally favorable to men and, in turn, ensures that most men and most women in Amaoti interact with environments in profoundly different ways. Central to the perspective that guides this book is a belief that world-changing perspectives emerge from consciousness...

  8. Chapter 4 When Theory Becomes a Material Force Gramsci’s Conjunctural Natures
    (pp. 75-108)

    TO CONSIDER THE IMMANENT CRITIQUE discussed in chapter 3 as abstract from the historically and geographically situated practices that permit it—as some vain metaphysical fancy—would be to render it utterly powerless. Instead, we need a clearer understanding of the mutually constitutive ways in which theory and practice shape each other in definite historical and geographical contexts. Returning to South Africa, the small protest that arose in Amaoti in February 2003 built on a history of intense struggle that is etched into the built environment of the settlement. In turn, the laboring acts of provisioning a household with water...

  9. Chapter 5 Cultural Praxis as the Production of Nature Lefebvrean Natures
    (pp. 109-130)

    ON A COLD FEBRUARY DAY IN NORTH LONDON, City Mine(d) has set up camp in a dull and dreary cul-de-sac, sandwiched between a crown-green bowling club and a school playing field. The group’s newly painted caravan, on a visit from Barcelona and recently nicknamed Gua-Gua (apparently Catalan dogs bark “Gua-Gua” and not “Woof-Woof ”), is a marked contrast to the surrounding doll’s-house estates in which, Lefebvre may well argue, the everyday reigns “in the chemically pure state.”¹ Bemused residents have come to see what has been happening to the ping-pong balls they have spent the last week firing into City...

  10. Conclusion The Nature of Everyday Life
    (pp. 131-136)

    IN THE COURSE OF WRITING THIS BOOK, the world known to many will have been dramatically reconfigured. Trumping my own hopes for a changed world, capital has achieved its own perverse transformation. Aided by willing political handmaidens, and in depressingly familiar ways, the out-come of the latest economic crisis has been a world manufactured even closer to the desires of finance capital. One need barely look any further than the university in which I work as it is disassembled and reassembled according to the needs of business. Or perhaps one might look at the city in which I live, where...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 137-160)
  12. Index
    (pp. 161-165)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 166-166)