Books  Environmental Studies  Philosophy, Ethics & Religion 

Against Ecological Sovereignty: Ethics, Biopolitics and Saving the Natural World

By: Mick Smith(Author)

269 pages, no illustrations

University of Minnesota Press

Paperback | Nov 2011 | #192415 | ISBN-13: 9780816670291
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £18.50 $24/€21 approx
Hardback | Nov 2011 | #200533 | ISBN-13: 9780816670284
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £55.99 $73/€64 approx

About this book

Against Ecological Sovereignty is a passionate defense of radical ecology that speaks directly to current debates concerning the nature, and dangers, of sovereign power. Engaging the work of Bataille, Arendt, Levinas, Nancy, and Agamben, among others, Mick Smith reconnects the political critique of sovereign power with ecological considerations, arguing that ethical and political responsibilities for the consequences of our actions do not end with those defined as human.

Against Ecological Sovereignty is the first book to turn Agamben's analysis of sovereignty and biopolitics toward an investigation of ecological concerns. In doing so it exposes limits to that thought, maintaining that the increasingly widespread biopolitical management of human populations has an unrecognized ecological analogue-reducing nature to a "resource" for human projects. Smith contends that a radical ecological politics must resist both the depoliticizing exercise of sovereign power and the pervasive spread of biopolitics in order to reveal new possibilities for creating healthy human and nonhuman communities.

Presenting a stinging critique of human claims to sovereignty over the natural world, Smith proposes an alternative way to conceive of posthumanist ecological communities-one that recognizes the utter singularity of the beings in them.

"Very occasionally one comes across a book that is genuinely original. Mick Smith's interrogation of ecological sovereignty offers an entirely new perspective on the dangers and opportunities involved in defining our current condition as an ecological ‘crisis.’ As a reassertion of the need for a politics and ethics of the environment, Smith's argument is fresh, very intelligent, and hard to beat."
- Andrew Dobson, author of Citizenship and the Environment

"Smith’s book is a valuable contribution to philosophical literature."
- Choice

"The most systematic work of explicitly ecological anarchism since Alan Carter’s book A Radical Green Political Theory (1999), and it deserves a suitable audience as such."
- Environmental Values



Introduction: A Grain of Sand
1. Awakening
2. The Sovereignty of Good
3. Primitivism: Anarchy, Politics, and the State of Nature
4. Suspended Animation: Radical Ecology, Sovereign Powers, and Saving the (Natural) World
5. Risks, Responsibilities, and Side Effects: Arendt, Beck, and the Politics of Acting into Nature
6. Articulating Ecological Ethics and Politics
7. Against Ecological Sovereignty
Apologue: In Relation to the Lack of Environmental Policy


Write a review

There are currently no reviews for this book. Be the first to review this book!


Mick Smith is associate professor and Queen’s National Scholar in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. He is author of An Ethics of Place: Radical Ecology, Postmodernity, and Social Theory.

Bestsellers in this subject

Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will

NHBS Price: £89.99 $117/€102 approx

The Animals' Agenda

NHBS Price: £13.99 $18/€16 approx

A Sand County Almanac

NHBS Price: £8.99 $12/€10 approx

The Meaning of Human Existence

NHBS Price: £10.99 $14/€13 approx

Zoo Ethics

NHBS Price: £35.95 $47/€41 approx

VAT: GB 407 4846 44
NHBS Ltd is registered in England and Wales: 1875194