Topologies of climate change: Actor-network theory, relational-scalar analytics, and carbon-market overflows

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Climate change is quickly becoming a ubiquitous socionatural reality, mediating extremes of sociospatial scale from the bodily to the planetary. Although environmentalism invites us to ‘think globally and act locally', the meaning of these scalar designations remains ambiguous. This paper explores the topological presuppositions of social theory in the context of global climate change, asking how carbon emissions ‘translate' into various sociomaterial forms. Staging a meeting between Tim Ingold's phenomenology of globes and spheres and the social topologies of actor-network theory (ANT), the paper advances a ‘relational-scalar' analytics of spatial practices, technoscience, and power. As technoscience gradually constructs a networked global climate, this ‘grey box' comes to circulate within fluid social spaces, taking on new shades as it hybridizes knowledges, symbols, and practices. Global climates thus come in multiple interfering versions, and we need to pay attention to both continuities and overflows, as illustrated in the paper by controversies surrounding transnational carbon markets. The relational-scalar analytics of ANT, I contend, are well suited to navigating such shifting terrains, a task central to the intellectual as well as practical challenges raised by the climate crisis.
TidsskriftEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)896-912
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2010

ID: 22432988