CSS Colloquium - Ola Uhrqvist: Understanding the Anthropocene by tracing the history of Earth system science
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Understanding the Anthropocene by tracing the history of Earth system science
How has it become reasonable to experience our present as the Anthropocene? What consequences could it bring? The argument here is that IGBP’s ambition to predict future Global change, by making it calculable as the Earth system, has shifted the ways global change is seen and rendered governable. Inspired by governmentality studies I ask how this global kind of knowledge provides an object of governance by extending the governing of populations to the governing of the planet. This has rearranged components and perspectives seen as necessary for understanding, predicting and governing local as well as the global environment. Supported by insights from history and sociology of scientific knowledge I also map how IGBP’s ambition effects scientific cooperation. Particularly the inclusion of ecology and human activities into the climate system challenged pervious promises of prediction. Today this tension makes a difference in discussions about geo-engineering and the emerging research agenda of Future Earth. The presentation draws on results from the project ‘Earth system governmentality’ at Linköping University.