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Accepted Paper:

Ontologies of Exclusion: Expert Repudiation over the Limits to Growth  
Selina Gallo-Cruz (Syracuse University)

Paper short abstract:

Through over forty in-depth interviews with experts, I explore how and why certain topics elicit repudiation from scientific and policy debate. This contributes to a cultural analysis of the paradigmatic celebration of technologies as bets solutions to climate crisis.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing from a broader study of disputes among environmentalists over technological solutions to climate crisis, this paper presents data on the social life of scientific findings and their implications for “renewable” (or rebuildable) technology proposals. Through in-depth study of the published works of and interviews with climatological, earth systems, and geological scientists, engineers, and policymakers, I discuss the social and political reception of their research. Prominent among their empirical assessments treated as offensive to the current policy paradigm are those related to biological limits of population and consumption as well as biological limits of resources and technological capacities needed for a “green” energy transition. I first identify kinds of evidence that are both taboo to raise in some circles and repudiated and deligitimated in others. I then outline a typology of critical responses to this research, ranging from relief and vindication among industry insiders, to moral outrage and castigation by policymakers and activists, and dismissal. I discuss observed patterned sanctions of shaming and delegitimation as reinforcing a burgeoning moral order surrounding technological schemes for decarbonization and the mechanisms for protection from transgressions against celebrated proposals. I present a sociological analysis of what has become both a policy paradigm and a moral order in the global debate about climate change.

Panel P022b
Uncommon Explorations between Green Technologies, Climate Hopes, and the Anthropological Imagination II
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -