Anthropocene has become an environmental buzzword. It denotes a new geological epoch that is human‐dominated. As mounting scientific evidence reveals, humankind has fundamentally altered atmospheric, geological, hydrological, biospheric, and other Earth system processes to an extent that the risk of an irreversible system change emerges. Human societies must therefore change direction and navigate away from critical tipping points in the various ecosystems of our planet. This hypothesis has kicked off a debate not only on the geoscientific definition of the Anthropocene era, but increasingly also in the social sciences. However, the specific contribution of the social sciences disciplines and in particular that of political science still needs to be fully established.

This edited volume analyzes, from a political science perspective, the wider social dynamics underlying the ecological and geological changes, as well as their implications for governance and politics in the Anthropocene. The focus is on two questions: (1) What is the contribution of political science to the Anthropocene debate, e.g. in terms of identified problems, answers, and solutions? (2) What are the conceptual and practical implications of the Anthropocene debate for the discipline of political science?

Overall, this book contributes to the Anthropocene debate by providing novel theoretical and conceptual accounts of the Anthropocene, engaging with contemporary politics and policy-making in the Anthropocene, and offering a critical reflection on the Anthropocene debate as such. The volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of political science, global environmental politics and governance, and sustainable development.

chapter 1|12 pages


A political science perspective on the Anthropocene
ByThomas Hickmann, Lena Partzsch, Philipp Pattberg, Sabine Weiland

part Part I|70 pages

Theories and concepts

chapter 2|16 pages

A natural history for the 21st century

Rethinking the Anthropocene narrative with Arendt and Adorno
ByMaike Weißpflug

chapter 3|17 pages

Disentangling descriptions of and responses to the Anthropocene

Norms and implications of scientific representations of the Earth system
ByJohannes Lundershausen

chapter 4|19 pages

The Anthropocene and governance

Critical reflections on conceptual relations
ByBasil Bornemann

chapter 5|16 pages

International theory in the Anthropocene

Moving beyond species, state and governance
ByFranziska Müller

part Part II|81 pages

Governance and practices

chapter 6|18 pages

Security studies and the discourse on the Anthropocene

Shortcomings, challenges and opportunities
ByJudith Nora Hardt

chapter 7|21 pages

Global climate governance as boundary object

Making the meaning of the Anthropocene
ByLukas Hermwille

chapter 8|22 pages

From ‘talking the talk’ to ‘walking the walk’?

Multi-level global governance of the Anthropocene in Indonesia
ByChris Höhne

chapter 9|18 pages

Agricultural governance in the Anthropocene

A research agenda
BySandra Schwindenhammer

part Part III|72 pages

Critical perspectives and implications

chapter 10|15 pages

Sustainability impact assessment of land use changes in the Anthropocene

ByTill Hermanns, Qirui Li

chapter 11|18 pages

The nuclear legacy in the Anthropocene

Interrelations between nature, technology and society
ByDörte Themann, Achim Brunnengräber

chapter 12|19 pages

Worlds apart?

The Global South and the Anthropocene
ByJens Marquardt

chapter 13|18 pages

The Anthropocene concept as a wake-up call for reforming democracy

ByJörg Tremmel

chapter 14|15 pages


Towards a ‘deep debate’ on the Anthropocene
ByThomas Hickmann, Lena Partzsch, Philipp Pattberg, Sabine Weiland