Publication – The geology of mankind: A critique of the Anthropocene narrative

LUCID graduate Andreas Malm and professor Alf Hornborg, both at the Human Ecology division, recently published The geology of mankind: A critique of the the Anthropocene narrative in the journal: The Anthropocene Review. In the article they problematise the concept of the anthropocene by tracing the historical development of fossil energy as the central productive force in the economy. They find that, contrary to the picture the Anthropocene narrative paints, this development did not come about through the actions of humankind in general. Rather, it was a controlled move by the bourgeois class which expanded and solidified their influence. The intra-species inequality that this maintained, and which remains as a feature of the capitalist economy of today, is belied by the Anthropocene narrative which sees humankind generally as a driving geological force. Malm and Hornborg argue that this narrative, which may have arisen due to the dominance of the natural sciences in studies of climate change, is both “analytically defective, but also inimical to action”.

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