ABSTRACT

The currently unfolding discourse on the Anthropocene represents a convergence of Earth system natural science and what the author refers to as post-Cartesian social science. Fields such as environmental anthropology, political ecology, development studies, and science-and-technology studies (STS) were attempting to deconstruct the Nature/Society distinction more than twenty years ago. The theoretical implications of the interfusion of Nature and Society, and the imperative of transdisciplinary approaches to human-environmental relations, were prominent in social-science agendas already in the 1990s. A prominent role of science seems to be to represent technological progress as 'natural', as if capitalist expansion was founded exclusively on innovative discoveries of the 'nature' of things, and as if the social organisation of exchange had nothing to do with it. Conventional historiography depicts the 'Industrial Revolution' as the product of British ingenuity and as a contribution destined to diffuse among all humankind.