84. Changing Climates, Changing Selves: Ethical Reflexivity in the Climate Crisis

Jonathan Wald, McGill University;

It is increasingly obvious that "business as usual" is inadequate amidst the climate crisis. What comes next, however, is uncertain. In Risk Society, Ulrich Beck predicted that the emergence of complex environmental hazards would result in the growth of reflexive practices in science and politics. STS scholars are well positioned to examine these new forms of self-reflection taking shape among those facing the climate crisis. These practices may include activists rethinking their strategies as they attempt to sway policy makers and broader audiences, scientists wondering about their political responsibilities as witnesses to climate breakdown, Indigenous communities strategically approaching climate movements as a means of self-determination, and many others. Building on Beck's work on 'reflexive modernism' (1986), Foucault's analysis of self-reflexivity as a primary site of ethical practice (2001), and Kim and Mike Fortun's emphasis on scientific subject formation (2005), this session seeks to foster conversations between the studies of ethics and morality (Zigon 2008; Fassin 2008; Lambek 2010) and climate STS (Edwards 2013; Knox 2020; Petyrna 2022) by asking how reflexivity is reshaped by the climate crisis and vice versa. We invite papers that address: - How do climate actors (i.e. impacted communities, scientists, activists, policy makers, etc.) understand themselves? - How do climate disasters and activism shape self-understandings? - What are the ecological consequences of changing self-understandings? - How does the mediatization of the climate crisis impact reflexive practices? - How has the self-understanding of humanity become a problem in the Anthropocene?

Contact: jonathan.wald@mcgill.ca

Keywords: Forms and Practices of Expertise, Environmental/Multispecies Studies, Reflexivity, Ethics

Published: 04/07/2023