Thursday, May 30, 2019

Making Space in Critical Environmental Geography for the Metabolic Rift

The Version of Record of our article in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers making the case for stronger engagement with Marx's theory of metabolic rift in geography was published online today. In the article, we critically assess two other Marxist framings in geography from  which criticisms of the theory of metabolic rift have been made, then clarify several important conceptual aspects of the theory that have been misunderstood as a result of these criticisms. We then finish with a discussion of how the theory of metabolic rift relates to key themes in critical environmental geography, and how stronger engagement here could benefit the field. The article is available at Taylor & Francis Online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24694452.2019.1598841


Making Space in Critical Environmental Geography for the Metabolic Rift

Brian M. Napoletano, John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, Pedro S. Urquijo, Michael K. McCall, and Jaime Paneque-Gálvez

Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Version of Record

Abstract
Marx’s concept of metabolic rift has emerged as a prominent theoretical framework with which to explain the socioecological crises of capitalism. Yet, despite its relevance to key concerns in critical environmental geography, it has remained marginal within the field. Here we address this by distinguishing between metabolic rift theory and two predominant Marxist approaches in environmental geography: the production-of-nature thesis and posthumanist world ecology. We follow this comparative assessment with a detailed analysis of metabolic rift theory and a brief overview of how the concept relates to key concerns in critical environmental geography. We conclude by discussing how a stronger engagement with the metabolic rift approach could benefit the field.

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