Losing Worlds. On Affectivity in the Time of Environmental Damage and Ecopolitical Resistance I 
Jean Chamel (Université de Lausanne)
Sebastien Roux (CNRS)
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Room 30
Thursday 28 July, 9:00-10:45

Short Abstract:

How are those concerned by environmental destruction experiencing loss-related emotions? How are regimes of affectivity related to sadness and despair - but also hope - socially distributed and culturally expressed? And how, and to what extent, do these feelings fuel alternative political action?

Long Abstract

Amid climatic and environmental changes, an increasing number of persons forecast and/or experience the deterioration of their "lifeworld" (Ingold 2000). Across a wide variety of locales and situations, there exist those who consider the world in which they are currently living as being irremediably damaged. For them, our current ecological crises are not merely theoretical: in fact, landscapes are being transformed, biodiversity is shrinking, etc. Still, these evolutions accompany a vast range of emotions, all related to the feeling of loss: sadness, melancholy, remorse, regret, anxiety and even despair. In 2005, Glenn Albrecht coined the term "solastalgia" to qualify the emotional distress caused by environmental changes.

Drawing on empirical data and ethnographic accounts, we aim to complexify our understanding of these emotional reactions, and to consider the diversity and specificity of loss-related regimes of affectivity. How are such feelings socially distributed and culturally expressed? How do those who feel concerned about environmental destruction experience, and deal with, these specific emotions? And how, and to what extent, do these feelings fuel alternative political actions and initiatives? Indeed, as Anna Tsing suggests (2015), even feelings such as loss can reveal new possibilities and opportunities, leading individuals to reconsider their lives among the "ruins of capitalism" and to modify their relations with themselves and others. Accordingly, this panel will not only consider how ecological destruction provokes new emotions and feelings; it will also interrogate that which loss may, paradoxically, produce, leading us to reconsider what it is to live in a "damaged" world.

Accepted papers: