My new article on marine plastic and global ethics in Political Geography is now available as a free download here until 2 July, 2015. Here’s the abstract:
Marine plastic has received significant attention as a spectacle of consumer waste and ecosystemic fragility, but there has been little discussion of its ethical implications. This essay argues that marine plastic poses a direct challenge to the basic frameworks of global ethics. These frameworks are dominated by the image of the ‘circle’, an abstract boundary intended to separate ‘humanity’ from the rest of the universe and insulate it against harm. However, this article argues that marine plastic undermines the ‘circle’ in two ways. First, it embodies conditions of ‘hyper-relationality’, including entanglement and the properties of toxicity, that penetrate the boundaries of ‘the circle’. Second, it exerts ‘forcefulness’, but at scales that radically exceed the dominant spatio-temporal dimensions of ‘the circle’. By virtue of these features, marine plastic thoroughly penetrates the boundaries of ‘the circle’, making it impossible to expel harm beyond its boundaries. Although this essay focuses on marine plastic, its core argument can also be fruitfully applied to other phenomena that share similar material, scalar, spatio-temporal and relational features (for instance, atmospheric particulate, nuclear waste and nitrate pollution). The essay concludes by exploring the alternative ethical possibilities that marine plastic and similar phenomena prompt: in particular, a responsive ethos based on a sense of shared vulnerability and exposure.
August 1st, 2015 at 9:41 pm
Reblogged this on littoral: sci-art project and commented:
Excited to have found Worldly IR fascinating and mind invigorating articles. Trying to mine the wonderful references/links to learn more. May have to join Political Geography to access the full Marine Ethics and Global Plastics paper. J Barton http://www.littoralartproject.com
August 2nd, 2015 at 10:41 am
Thanks for reading! Glad you’re finding the blog useful, and I’m looking forward to checking out littoral: sci-art project. By the way, there is a pre-pub version of the Political Geography article available here :https://www.academia.edu/6603947/Thinking_Without_the_Circle_Marine_Plastics_and_Global_Ethics