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

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

chapter 3|17 pages

Disentangling descriptions of and responses to the Anthropocene

Norms and implications of scientific representations of the Earth system

chapter 4|19 pages

The Anthropocene and governance

Critical reflections on conceptual relations

chapter 5|16 pages

International theory in the Anthropocene

Moving beyond species, state and governance

part II|81 pages

Governance and practices

chapter 6|18 pages

Security studies and the discourse on the Anthropocene

Shortcomings, challenges and opportunities

chapter 7|21 pages

Global climate governance as boundary object

Making the meaning of the Anthropocene

chapter 8|22 pages

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

Multi-level global governance of the Anthropocene in Indonesia

chapter 9|18 pages

Agricultural governance in the Anthropocene

A research agenda

part III|72 pages

Critical perspectives and implications

chapter 11|18 pages

The nuclear legacy in the Anthropocene

Interrelations between nature, technology and society

chapter 12|19 pages

Worlds apart?

The Global South and the Anthropocene

chapter 14|15 pages


Towards a ‘deep debate’ on the Anthropocene