Ecology has become one of the most urgent and lively fields in both the humanities and sciences. In a dramatic widening of scope beyond its original concern with the coexistence of living organisms within a natural environment, it is now recognised that there are ecologies of mind, information, sensation, perception, power, participation, media, behaviour, belonging, values, the social, the political… a thousand ecologies. This proliferation is not simply a metaphorical extension of the figurative potential of natural ecology: rather, it reflects the thoroughgoing imbrication of natural and technological elements in the constitution of the contemporary environments we inhabit, the rise of a cybernetic natural state, with its corresponding mode of power. Hence this ecology of ecologies initiates and demands that we go beyond the specificity of any particular ecology: a general thinking of ecology which may also constitute an ecological transformation of thought itself is required.
In this ambitious and radical new volume of writings, some of the most exciting contemporary thinkers in the field take on the task of revealing and theorizing the extent of the ecologization of existence as the effect of our contemporary socio-technological condition: together, they bring out the complexity and urgency of the challenge of ecological thought – one we cannot avoid if we want to ask and indeed have a chance of affecting what forms of life, agency, modes of existence, human or otherwise, will participate – and how – in this planet's future.
"A brilliant collection that interrogates and exemplifies the current turn in critical theory to ecology and the environment. Bringing together the very best thinkers, it maps the entangled relationship between the ecological and the technological. A must read."
– Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Brown University, USA
"With ground-breaking contributions from a renowned cast of international scholars General Ecology issues a call to arms to anyone interested in the concept of the environment. By radicalizing several strands of research in the humanities and social sciences, including cybernetics, phenomenology, systems theory, process philosophy and discourses on the anthropocene, the essays gathered here transform our approach to the concept of ecology along three axes. In variant and often mind-expanding ways, we are urged to substitute a "general ecology of relations" for the mathematization of relation central to contemporary global capital, to invest in a third stage environmental cybernetics rooted in the "technoecology of sense," and to resist the "Anthropocene illusion" by tracking the explosion of environmental agencies in today's global "technosphere." General Ecology offers nothing less than a new ecological image of thought."
– Mark B. N. Hansen, Professor of Literature and Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Duke University, USA
Introduction to General Ecology: the Ecologization of Thinking (Erich Hörl, Professor of Media Culture, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany)
1. Computational Logic and Ecological Rationality (Luciana Parisi, Reader in Cultural Theory, Goldsmith's, University of London, UK)
2. Elements for an Ecology of Separation: Beyond Ecological Constructivism (Frédéric Neyrat, a French philosopher and former program director at Collège international de philosophie in Paris, France)
3. General Ecology, Economy, and Organology (Bernard Stiegler, a French philosopher. He is head of the Institut de recherche et d'innovation (IRI), which he founded in 2006 at the Centre Georges-Pompidou, France)
4. Critique of the Cosmology of the Moderns (Didier Debaise, Professor of Philosophy, ULB, Brussels, Belgium)
5. Deep Times and Media Mines: A Descent into Ecological Materiality of Technology (Jussi Parikka, media theorist, writer and Professor in Technological Culture & Aesthetics at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, UK)
6. Planetary Immunity: Biopolitics, Gaia Theory, the Holobiont, and the Systems Counterculture (Bruce Clarke, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Literature and Science, Texas Tech University, USA)
7. Ecologizing Biopolitics, or, What is the “Bio-” of Biopolitics and Bioart? (Cary Wolfe, Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English and Director, 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory, Rice University, USA)
8. Ecologies of Communication, Contagion and Bataille (David Wills, Professor of French Studies, Brown University, USA)
8. Metafiction and General Ecology: Making Worlds with Worlds (James Burton, fellow of ICI, Berlin, Germany)
9. An Ecology of Differences: Communication, the Web, and the Question of Borders (Elena Esposito, Professor of Sociology at the University Modena/Reggio Emilia, Italy)
10. Specters of Ecology (Timothy Morton, Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English, Rice University, USA)
11. Devastation (Matthew Fuller, Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK and Olga Goriunova, Senior Lecturer in Digital Culture, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
12. Virtual Ecology and the Question of Value (Brian Massumi, Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences at the University of Montréal, Canada)
List of Contributors
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Erich Hörl is a philosopher and cultural theorist. He is professor of Media Culture at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media (ICAM) at Leuphana University of Luneburg, Germany. James Burton is a lecturer in Cultural Studies and Cultural History at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Philosophy of Science Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2015).