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Everyday Environmentalism

Creating an Urban Political Ecology

2012
Author:

Alex Loftus

Everyday Environmentalism

A bold rethinking of urban political ecology

Everyday Environmentalism develops a conversation between marxist theories of everyday life and recent work in urban political ecology, arguing for a philosophy of praxis in relation to the politics of urban environments. Alex Loftus reformulates—with the assistance of Lukács, Gramsci, Lefebvre, and others—a politics of the environment in which everyday subjectivity is at the heart of a revolutionary politics.

Everyday Environmentalism makes a compelling argument about how new environmental understandings can emerge from a critique of everyday life. Moving seamlessly between theory and practice in mutually illuminating ways, this book sheds exciting new light on the conditions of possibility for a radical socionatural politics.

Gillian Hart, University of California, Berkeley

Everyday Environmentalism develops a conversation between marxist theories of everyday life and recent work in urban political ecology, arguing for a philosophy of praxis in relation to the politics of urban environments. Grounding its theoretical debate in empirical studies of struggles to obtain water in the informal settlements of Durban, South Africa, as well as in the creative acts of insurgent art activists in London, Alex Loftus builds on the work of key marxist thinkers to redefine “environmental politics.”

A marxist philosophy of praxis—that world-changing ideas emerge from the acts of everyday people—undergirds the book. Our daily reality, writes Loftus, is woven out of the entanglements of social and natural relations, and as such a kind of environmental politics is automatically incorporated into our lives. Nevertheless, one effect of the public recognition of global environmental change, asserts Loftus, has been a resurgence of dualistic understandings of the world: for example, that nature is inflicting revenge on arrogant human societies.

This ambitious work reformulates—with the assistance of such philosophers as Lukács, Gramsci, Lefebvre, and others—a politics of the environment in which everyday subjectivity is at the heart of a revolutionary politics.

Everyday Environmentalism

Alex Loftus is a lecturer in geography at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Everyday Environmentalism

Everyday Environmentalism makes a compelling argument about how new environmental understandings can emerge from a critique of everyday life. Moving seamlessly between theory and practice in mutually illuminating ways, this book sheds exciting new light on the conditions of possibility for a radical socionatural politics.

Gillian Hart, University of California, Berkeley

Everyday Environmentalism provides access to a host of historically complex ideas central to the evolution of urban political ecology and beyond. Alex Loftus’s depth of knowledge within social theory, urban studies, and socionature studies is robust.

Nik Heynen, University of Georgia

Lays down a fertile ground for the synthesis between the epistemological approaches to ecology, which asserts the intertwinement and unity of humans and nonhuman, through a rich and nuanced political approach to ecology.

The Canadian Geographer

This is an ambitious and heart-felt book that seeks to lay out the theoretical foundations for an everyday environmentalism. The strengths of the book lie in its dogged interrogations and clear explications of a range of Marxist theory – especially that concerned with understanding and reformulating the political.

Area

The rich theoretical conversation in this book will no doubt be welcome to anyone working to re-materialise geography or expand conversations within political ecology, posthumanism or post-marxism.

Environmental Values

Everyday Environmentalism is in our opinion a major contribution to the literature on urban political ideology. It is an essential reading for those scholars that seek an understanding of how to reformulate environmental politics to produce urban environments in an academic way.

Hug March and Thomas Purcell, Dialogues in Human Geography

For those who seek a revolutionary environmentalism firmly rooted in the materialist tradition, this is a necessary, challenging and welcome text that deserves to be widely read.

Cultural Geographies

Everyday Environmentalism

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Emerging Moments in an Urban Political Ecology

1. The Urbanization of Nature: Neil Smith and Posthumanist Controversies
2. Sensuous Socio-Natures: The Concept of Nature in Marx
3. Cyborg Consciousness: Questioning the Dialectics of Nature in Lukács
4. When Theory Becomes a Material Force: Gramsci’s Conjunctural Natures
5. Cultural Praxis as the Production of Nature: Lefebvrean Natures
Conclusion: The Nature of Everyday Life

Notes
Index