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Militarizing the Environment: Climate Change and the Security State

How ideas of coexisting with the planet are being replaced by a militarized vision of adaptation

By: Robert P Marzec(Author)

304 pages, 16 b/w illustrations

University of Minnesota Press

Paperback | Apr 2016 | #228193 | ISBN-13: 9780816697236
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.99 $26/€23 approx
Hardback | no dustjacket | Dec 2015 | #228194 | ISBN-13: 9780816697229
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £70.50 $92/€80 approx

About this book

As the seriousness of climate change becomes more and more obvious, military institutions are responding by taking a prominent role in the governing of environmental concerns, engaging in "climate change war games", and preparing for the effects of climate change – from conflicts due to loss of food, water, and energy to the mass migration of millions of people displaced by rising sea levels. This combat-oriented stance stems from a self-destructive pattern of thought that Robert P. Marzec names "environmentality," an attitude that has been affecting human–environmental relations since the seventeenth century.

Militarizing the Environment traces the rise of this influential mindset in America and other nations that threatens to supplant ideas of sustainability with demands for adaptation. In this extensive historical study of scientific, military, political, and economic formations across five centuries, Marzec reveals how environmentality has been instrumental in the development of today's security society – informing the creation of the military-industrial complex during World War II and the National Security Act that established the CIA during the Cold War.

Now embedded in contemporary Western thought, environmentality has even infiltrated scientific thinking – transforming Darwinian insights into a quasi-theology that makes security the biological basis of existence. Marzec exposes the self-destructive nature of this increasingly accepted worldview and offers alternatives that counter the blind alleys of national and global security.

"Militarizing the Environment: Climate Change and the Security State offers an illuminating, perturbing account of the greening of military discourse and strategy amidst an era of advancing climate change. Robert P. Marzec brilliantly details the neoliberal assault – at once militaristic, economic and discursive – on the commons and its most vulnerable inhabitants. His book is essential reading for anyone committed to understanding the new imperialism and its cynical, sinister appropriation of critical environmental ideas like resilience, adaptation, and sustainability."
– Rob Nixon, author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor




Introduction: Climate Change War Games
1. The SAGEs of the Earth and the Accidental Nature of Environmentality
2. Inhabitancy, Custom Law, and the Landless: From Enclosures to Energy Security
3. Genealogies of Military Environmentality: The Human Species as a Geological Force in the Anthropocene
4. Military Genealogies of Environmentality: Environmental Exceptionalism
Conclusion: From Environmentality to an Ecology of Inhabitancy


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Robert P. Marzec is associate professor of ecocriticism and postcolonialism in the department of English at Purdue University and associate editor of MFS: Modern Fiction Studies. He is the author of An Ecological and Postcolonial Study of Literature and the editor of Postcolonial Literary Studies: The First 30 Years.

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