Climate Trauma and the Unbearable Commons

Irina Velicu (CES)

March 30, 2021, 16h00 (GMT +01:00)

Online event

Comments: António Carvalho | Moderator: Filipe Santos


The current pandemics is a traumatic experience intensifying the climate crisis. While it augments existing structural inequalities, it is a pervasive form of grief and ecosystem distress. In the contemporary techno-ecological context, global movements have been putting forward visions of emancipation and sovereignties in search of new worlds without imperialism, capitalism and patriarchy. Entanglements, attachments and interconnectivity are repetitive themes of environmental constructivists, a science of relations among beings with imaginaries of future good-life centered on sustainable and caring commoning. I build on this body of literature with the aim to challenge what counts as ´commons´ in such proposals. In conversation with queer literature which examines subjective traumas, I aim to extend the discussion on sustainable commons: in contrasting Butler and Berlant´s discussion of trauma with Edelman´s ´undoing´ as a condition of life, I propose to theoretically advance a commons politics that embraces negativity and separation as conditions of livable lives. This paper aims to expand commoning theories focused on affective politics and performativity making an argument for ´undoing´ the subject of commoning as preconceived category. I question the constructivist tendency to stabilize and harmonize frameworks of collective and self-coherence and propose the encounter with negativity and separation as productive of relations. Finally, I discuss undoing as ´events of subjectification´ using both Edelman and Ranciere´s aesthetic politics.

2nd  Session of the Seminar Series «Deconfined Talks II».


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