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Time and The Political: Navigating the Temporalities of Climate Change

 Time figures centrally in the climate debate today, from the IPCC’s elaboration of divergent future scenarios to the hourglass symbol of Extinction Rebellion. Advocates of large-scale technological interventions, like geoengineering, argue these could buy us time or be an escape route in case of a climate emergency. Striking pupils carry signs that ‘it is our future’ and turn climate change into an intergenerational struggle. This project studies how time and temporal discourses contribute to processes of (de)politicisation. First, it introduces time into the postfoundational debate on ‘the political’, where it is currently missing. To that aim, it develops three conceptual distinctions: (1) full versus empty time, (2) synergies and clashes between different temporalities, and (3) different views on progress and history. Subsequently, three cases will be studied which will feed into and be scrutinised from the perspective of this conceptual framework: (1) IPCC and UNFCCC climate scenarios, (2) geoengineering, and (3) civil society responses to climate change. Finally, these analyses will be brought together in an overarching and comparative assessment. Through theoretically and empirically studying the emergence and conflictual development of time discourses in relation to climate change, and assessing their (de)politicising effects, conclusions will be drawn regarding their mobilising and democratic potential

Date:1 Oct 2020  →  Today
Keywords:climate change, time, the political
Disciplines:Sustainable development, Social change, Political theory, Social geography, Human geography not elsewhere classified