Narratives and the Ethics and Politics of Environmentalism: The Transformative Power of Stories

Theory and Science 2 (1):1-10 (2001)
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By revealing the centrality of stories to action, to social life and to inquiry together with the implicit assumptions in polyphonic stories about the nature of humans, of life and of physical reality, this paper examines the potential of stories to transform civilization. Focussing on the failure of environmentalists so far in the face of the global ecological crisis, it is shown how ethics and political philosophy could be reconceived and radical ecology reformulated and reinvigorated by appreciating and exploiting the potential of stories. This could enable radical ecologists to effect the major social and economic changes necessary to meet the global ecological crisis. What we need, it is argued, is a new, polyphonic grand narrative.

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Arran Gare
Swinburne University of Technology


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