Gaia Politics, Critique, and the “Planetary Imaginary”


In this article, I examine Bruno Latour and Isabelle Stengers’s recent writings on Gaia, the mythological goddess repurposed in the 1970s by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis as geobiological trope. I assess their claims that Gaia facilitates non-modern thinking (Latour) or short-circuits the anthropocentrism of Anthropocene vocabularies (Stengers), and represents an alternative to critique, which, they argue, confines us to the problematic legacies of modernity. Situating their work alongside contemporary “postcritical” thinkers, I challenge their accounts of critique, arguing that a future-oriented model of critique is compatible with their aims and can be used to inform a more reflective understanding of Gaia.

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