ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Latourian politics of nature. How to compose the environment as a matter of concern

Karen Francois
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Gert Goeminne
Open Panel

Abstract

In this paper we will follow Latour’s call to let go of matters of fact and elaborate on the conceptual contours of an environmental politics of concern. In a first step, we argue how a constructivist account of science in action does not so much debunk scientific truth as it shows the meticulous work of composition that goes into the construction of a matter of fact. Next, we connect the Latourian concepts of matters of fact and matters of concern with the Boehmian distinction between logical and topical truth, in this way raising two crucial issues. First, we come to fully recognise the inherent political dimension of scientific representation as the non-neutral ways in which science frames its topics. Second, this uprooting of the science/politics divide allows us to reframe the core question of environmental politics as how to deal with matters of concern without falling back to the dualistic nature-culture scheme that aborts politics. In a third and final step, we argue that the key move towards an environmental politics of concern is to make all definitions of politics turn around the issues or topics of consideration instead of having the issues enter into a ready made political sphere. Environmental politics should thus be conceived as a work of composition governed by a struggle for topical truth; that is to say for what to be concerned about. In this paper we will elaborate how such a politics of composition genuinely incorporates nature into the political sphere.