A Cacophony of -Cenes: Framing Human-Nonhuman Nature Relations in Ideological and Ideographic Anthropocene Manifestos

Marcia Clare Allison, Esben Bjerggaard Nielsen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


The groundbreaking 2021 IPCC report has made anthropogenic climate change an irrefutable, scientifically established global threat. And yet, such agreement has not brought an end to climate change debates. Rather, arguments now rage over what present and future responses—ranging from technological futurism to de-growth strategies—should entail in this new world order. In this paper, we argue such discrepancies have been foreshadowed by two decades of Anthropocene debate in which a cacophony of competing understandings and –cenes have entered the public sphere to indicate differing ideologies of human responsibilities in living and mitigating this new epoch. Through the lens of ideological rhetoric we therefore argue that this makes the Anthropocene an ideograph: a singular term that is used by different actors to indicate wildly different ideological beliefs. To explicate our argument, we turn to a critical site of Anthropocene thinking—the manifesto—as a deliberative call to action that frames human-nonhuman nature relations and makes conceptual and political disagreements apparent. To explicate our argument, we perform a textual and ideological rhetorical comparative analysis of two opposing Anthropocene manifestos: the technologically-focused The Ecomodernist Manifesto and the ecosystem-centred Manifesto for Living in the Anthropocene. Whilst the former defines the Anthropocene as a positive catalyst for the technological ingenuity of future humans, the latter is a damning critique of neoliberal modernity and argues for respecting planetary limits of growth (Brook, 2015; Norton & Hulme, 2019, p. 120) that have been breached by capitalist free market logics. Our analysis thus demonstrates an ideological struggle over the term that risks it becoming an obstacle of confusion as opposed to a cure for climate scepticism.
TidsskriftNew Formations
StatusAfsendt - 2022


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