Climate Change and Capitalism: Inequality and Justice in an Overheated World

In this workshop, we will explore the interfaces of climate change and capitalism, and discuss how climate change and environmental crisis intersect with difference, inequality and claims for justice.

Trevor Nickolls: Warmun Mandala © Trevor Nickolls/BONO

We take the recent interest in the concept of the Anthropocene – and alternative terms such as Capitalocene – as an invitation for social scientists to scrutinize the human-environment-capital relationships in a world that is undergoing accelerated change. Given that the causes and effects of climate change overlap with the workings of global capitalism and the continuous striving for economic growth, we ask how the double bind between material wealth and ecological viability is negotiated by people with different stakes in the global economy. What are the needs, desires, doubts and fears that are articulated by different people? How are ideas and claims of blame, responsibility and justice generated and connected to imaginations of the future? Knowledge about changes in the weather and climate is often fragmented and chaotic; how are different forms of knowledge translated, scaled and connected to material practices in people’s daily life?

The final report of the American Anthropological Association’s Global Climate Change Task Force, states that anthropology can contribute critical missing pieces to the puzzle of climate change and global environmental change (Fiske 2014). What are these “critical missing pieces”? Are there any new questions we could ask about climate change related to the production of difference, inequality or climate justice? Are there any alternative perspectives that can shed light over the overwhelming challenge that we face as humanity on planet earth? Questions about global climate change and the Anthropocene certainly call forth a sense of urgency. However, as anthropologists we adhere to the necessity of long-term fieldwork, deep immersion in other lifeworlds, and the analytical reflexivity that emerges through long deliberation. How can we combine this “slow science” with the urgent pressure for political engagement? How can we do engaged anthropology and environmental politics otherwise?



Monday 25 April

12.00 – 13.00: Sandwiches, coffee and registration

13.00 – 13.30: Thomas Hylland Eriksen and Astrid B. Stensrud (Dept. of Social Anthropology, UiO): Welcome and introduction to the workshop theme

Responses to environmental change in the Capitalocene
(chair: Astrid B. Stensrud, discussant: Marianne Lien, Dept. of Social Anthropology, UiO)

13.30 – 14.15: Mike Hulme (King’s College London): “Better Weather?  The Cultivation of the Sky”

14.15 – 15.00: Kirsten Hastrup (University of Copenhagen): “New Materials and Ancient Resources in the Thule Region: The Precarious life of High Arctic Hunters”

15.00 – 15.30: Coffee break

15.30 – 16.15: Marisol de la Cadena (University of California, Davis): “Impossible: a story against destruction”

16.15 - 17.00: Susan Crate (George Mason University): “Tracking the Complexity of Change and Explanatory Stories in Anthropological Climate Research: One Case in Mongolia”

19.00: Dinner for speakers and discussants - Cafe Europa


Tuesday 26 April

8.30 – 9.00: Coffee

Human-environmental-capital relationships
(chair: Thomas Hylland Eriksen, discussant: Harold L. Wilhite, Centre for Development and Environment, UiO)

9.00 – 9.45: Astrid O. Andersen (University of Copenhagen): “Puzzling pieces and situated urgencies of climate change and capitalism in the High Arctic. Some stories from Qaanaaq”

9.45 – 10.30: Edvard Hviding (University of Bergen): “Climate change, Oceanic sovereignties and maritime economies in the Pacific”

10.30 – 10.45: Coffee break

10.45 – 11.30: María A. Guzmán-Gallegos (University of Oslo): “The intricacies of Justice: Environmental and health emergencies in Northern Loreto, Peru”

11.30 – 12.15: Anna Tsing (University of California, Santa Cruz): “The political economy of the Great Acceleration, or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb”

12.15-13.45: Lunch 

Uncertainty, regulation and security
(chair: María A. Guzmán-Gallegos, discussant: Karen O’Brien, Dept. of Sociology and Human Geography, UiO )

13.45 – 14.30: Astrid B. Stensrud (University of Oslo): “Anticipating the unknown: The moral economy of climate change, resources and futures”

14.30– 15.15: Jessica Barnes (University of South Carolina): “Dreams of Self-Sufficiency: The Cultural Politics of Wheat in Egypt”

15.15 – 15.30: Coffee Break

15.30 – 16.15: Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies): Climate change and the politics of uncertainty from 'above' and 'below'

19.00: Dinner for speakers and discussants - Christiania Cafe


Wednesday 27 April

8.30 - 9.00: Coffee

Future risk, hope and engagement
(chair Cathrine Moe Thorleifsson, discussant Chris Hann, Max Planck Institute, Halle)

9.00 – 9.45: Andrei F. Marin (Norwegian University of Life Sciences): “Globalization, hyper-connectivity, and the privatization of risk: understanding climate change vulnerability and ‘actually existing capitalism’ in Mongolia”

9.45 – 10.30: Frank Sejersen (University of Copenhagen): “Islands of hope and despair. Scaling the collapse and the collapse of scales”

10.30 – 11.15: Ben Orlove (Columbia University): “Climate Anthropology in the Digital Age: Numbers and Stories about a Glacier Website” (Co-authors: Kerry Milch and Laura Uguccioni)

11.15 – 12.00: Sandwiches and coffee

12.00 – 13.00: Plenary discussion



For further information please contact Astrid Stensrud or project coordinator Irene Svarteng.
For registration please contact the project coordinator. 

Published Mar. 1, 2016 2:36 PM - Last modified Apr. 20, 2016 1:26 PM