Advertisement

From Ecological Ontology to Social Ecology: John Dewey, Radhakamal Mukerjee, and Interscalar Ethics

  • Betsy Taylor
  • Herbert G. Reid
Chapter

Abstract

Dangerous evils of our time are linked with pathologies of scale. Global markets in labor and capital overwhelm democratic controls at local and national scales. Injustice is ever more deeply spatialized. To understand these pathologies of scale, this chapter enquires into the ontology of the interscalar. We argue for an ecological understanding of human and natural being, in which diverse spatio-temporal scales intertwine to generate a transformative fabric of interscalar co-being. To do this, we put the Indian sociologist Radhakamal Mukerjee into dialogue with the American philosopher John Dewey. Both thinkers made original contributions which can help build a transformative ontology of the interscalar for the twenty-first century. We call for theoretical genealogies to re-embody and replace social theory in our actual lives—lives embedded in, and emergent from, ecological being that is complex, historical, paradoxical, and dynamic in its scaling.

In this chapter, we argue that these pathologies of scale require careful theoretical inquiry into the ontology of the interscalar. We argue for an ecological understanding of human and natural being, in which diverse spatio-temporal scales intertwine to generate a transformative fabric of interscalar co-being. To do this we retrieve some neglected genealogies and debates of social theory. Specifically, we put the Indian sociologist Radhakamal Mukerjee into dialogue with the American philosopher John Dewey. Both thinkers made original contributions which can help build a transformative ontology of the interscalar for the twenty-first century.

References

  1. Agrawal, A. 2005. Environmentality: technologies of government and the making of subjects. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, Hannah. 1958. The human condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Athanasiou, T., & Baer, P. 2002. Dead heat: global justice and global warming. New York: Seven Stories Press.Google Scholar
  4. Banerjee-Guha, S. 2011. Contradictions of ‘development’ in contemporary India, openDemocracy (February 7). http://www.opendemocracy.net/openindia/swapna-banerjee-guha/contradictions-of-%E2%80%98development%E2%80%99-in-contemporary-india accessed February 20, 2011.
  5. Bauman, Z. 1998. Globalization: the human consequences. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. 1988. A thousand plateaus. London: Athlone Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dery, M. 1999. The pyrotechnic insanitarium: American culture on the brink. New York: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dewey, J. 1929 [1925]. Experience and Nature (Second edition ed.). La Salle, Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  9. Dewey, J. 1960a [1929]. The quest for certainty. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.Google Scholar
  10. Dewey, J. 1960b [1934]. A common faith. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Ferguson, J. 2006. Global Shadows: Africa in the NeoLiberal World Order. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Foucault, M. 1991 [1978]. Governmentality. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon & P. Miller (Eds.), The Foucault effect: studies in governmentality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Gidwani, V. 2008. Capital, Interrupted. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  14. Giri, A. 2002. Conversations and transformations: toward a new ethics of self and society. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  15. Gottlieb, R. S. 2006. A greener faith: religious environmentalism and our planet’s future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Guha, R. (Ed.). 1994. Social Ecology. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Guha, R. 2006. How Much Should a Person Consume?: Environmentalism in India and the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hansen, J. 2009. Storms of my grandchildren. New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  19. Harvey, D. 1996. Justice, nature, and the geography of difference. Cambridge, MA.: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  20. Kempf, H. 2008. How the rich are destroying the earth. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Massey, D. 1994. Space, place, and gender. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  22. McKibben, B. 2007. Deep economy: the wealth of communities and the durable future. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  23. Mishra, P. 2006. Gaining Power, Losing Values, New York Times. November 22.Google Scholar
  24. Mukerjee, R. 1950. The social structure of values. London: Macmillan & Company.Google Scholar
  25. Mukerjee, R. 1952. The dynamics of morals. London: Macmillan & Company.Google Scholar
  26. Northcott, M. S. 2007. A moral climate: the ethics of global warming. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
  27. Reid, H. G., & Taylor, B. 2010. Recovering the commons: democracy, place, and global justice. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  28. Ward, P. 2010. The flooded Earth. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betsy Taylor
    • 1
  • Herbert G. Reid
    • 1
  1. 1.LexingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations