Arendt in the Anthropocene, our new paper on Being Earthbound

I’m happy to say that a new paper I co-wrote with Oliver Belcher is now out and open-access with Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

The article starts by paying attention to how Hannah Arendt foregrounded her provocative work in The Human Condition with the claim that humans are earth-bound creatures. This idea is not one that is just a one-off but rather, we argue, a helpful way to make sense of different aspects of her work in that book…which is obviously a quite wide-ranging piece of scholarship but one in which Arendt keeps returning to issues that arise when humans start acting into nature and not merely upon it. Here is the abstract, and the pdf is on my publications page or at the link above:


Hannah Arendt developed a twofold account of ‘being earthbound’ directly relevant to Anthropocene debates regarding the political. For Arendt, both senses of ‘being earthbound’ arose as humans began to act into nature, not merely upon it. The first sense is oriented to a political ontology of process, which arose as human actions – political, technological, scientific – nullified modernist conceits separating humans from nature. The second sense is one of earth alienation, which is referenced specifically to a scientific praxis coincident with advances in science and technology that alienates common sense experiences in politics. Though not unqualified, these two senses of being earthbound anchor our argument that Arendt offered prescient resources for understanding the political in the Anthropocene at the intersection of science, capital and world. The article ends by contrasting Arendt’s account of being earthbound with Bruno Latour’s recent interventions on the politics of Gaia.