An Introduction to ‘Peace, Conflicts and Security in the Anthropocene: Ruptures and Limits'
Throughout the last two decades, numerous disciplines across the natural and social sciences have witnessed the increasing influence of an emerging set of contemporary theoretical trends that delve into the entanglements between the human and its material milieu (see Haraway, 2016; Latour, 2005). Beyond rigid attributed labels, including new materialisms, Actor-Network theory, speculative realisms and object-oriented ontology, amongst others, the genealogy of these theoretical movements arguably traces back to the confluence of two mutually reinforcing processes. On the one hand, the current unprecedented techno-scientific progress in areas such as Earth System Sciences and Science and Technology Studies has led to compelling narratives on unsettling events, including the potential effects of global warming as well as the uncertain future implications of developments in fields as, for instance, Artificial Intelligence. As a result of these challenges and speculations, the hypothetical finitude of the human being on the planet, far from abstract apocalyptic discourses, has become a strikingly perceptible experience. In other words, the stories about the distinctive, superior and masterful character of the human on Earth increasingly seem to fade, and its future seems unquestionably inextricable from broader beyond-the-human phenomena (see Tsing, 2015). The present age in which the human has compromised its own existence, or at least its position of dominance, to anthropogenic processes that surpass the sphere of human control has been defined by many scholars as the Anthropocene (see Crutzen & Stoermer, 2000). On the other hand, the tenets of this growing theoretical rubric claim the exhaustion and incapacity of the post-positivist paradigm, arguably the dominant register within critical theory over the last forty years, as unable to provide analytical tools that enhance the comprehensive understanding of the repositioning of the human in the Anthropocene era (see Bryant, Srnicek & Harman, 2011). To be precise, the limits of textual, discursive and semiotic methodological techniques are exposed as insufficient to capture and examine how Anthropocenic processes of transformation are reconfiguring the role of the human on the planet, let alone the relations with its environment.