The Limits of Anthropocene Narratives

European Journal of Social Theory 23 (2):184-199 (2020)
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The rapidly growing transdisciplinary enthusiasm about developing new kinds of Anthropocene stories is based on the shared assumption that the Anthropocene predicament is best made sense of by narrative means. Against this assumption, this article argues that the challenge we are facing today does not merely lie in telling either scientific, socio-political, or entangled Anthropocene narratives to come to terms with our current condition. Instead, the challenge lies in coming to grips with how the stories we can tell in the Anthropocene relate to the radical novelty of the Anthropocene condition about which no stories can be told. What we need to find are meaningful ways to reconcile an inherited commitment to narrativization and the collapse of storytelling as a vehicle of understanding the Anthropocene as our current predicament.
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