Gods of the Anthropocene: Geo-Spiritual Formations in the Earth’s New Epoch

Theory, Culture and Society 34 (2-3):253-275 (2017)
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Abstract

In this article the author argues that we need not just to ‘decolonize’ the Anthropocene but also to ‘desecularize’ it – to be aware that in the new age of the Earth we may be coeval with gods and spirits. Drawing particularly on the work of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Georges Bataille, and using concepts from both thermodynamics and fluid dynamics, the author starts to develop an interdisciplinary theory of planetary spirit and use this to speak of both the ‘laminar’ high gods of time that are being invoked to summon the story of Earth’s ongoing transformation into a canonical mythos, and the turbulent lower spirits of place which manifest particular, situated dynamics on an Earth crossed by interlocking gradients and flows of energy, value, power and entropy. He suggests that what might once have been distinct territorialized ‘cultures’ or ‘natures’ in which humans engaged in particular situated patterns of interaction with animals, spirits and other beings are increasingly being convened into a global multinatural system.

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