By James S. Ormrod
In this publication, a party of the paintings of the sociologist Peter Dickens serves because the catalyst for exploring the connection among human ‘internal nature’ (our wellbeing and fitness and mental overall healthiness) and ‘external nature’ (the setting on which we rely and which we jointly transform). throughout contributions from Ted Benton, James Ormrod, Kate Soper, John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark, Graham Sharp, James Addicott, Kathryn Dean and Peter Dickens himself, the publication attracts awareness to alienation linked to the merchandising of alternative knowledges in past due capitalist construction. however it additionally highlights the chances for producing much less alienated relatives with our surroundings sooner or later. in addition to discussing the philosophical and theoretical matters concerned, the e-book comprises modern case reviews of ultra-processed meals, satellite tv for pc farming, computerised pondering and darkish tourism.
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Extra resources for Changing our Environment, Changing Ourselves: Nature, Labour, Knowledge and Alienation
The argument is rendered more powerful by extending the scope of human capacities that are brought into the analysis. The changes, such as the reduction in manual labour, increasing use of technically and scientifically trained workers, pervasive spread of IT into all work situations, and the importance of scientific research in business innovation, which led to talk of a ‘knowledge economy’, constitute only one aspect of the change. Dickens here cites Hochschild’s iconic study (1983) of the ‘emotional management’ involved in the work of cabin crews in commercial airlines.
For those attracted by this current of thought, capitalism was denounced for its fragmentation and distortion of the subjective lives of those caught up in its sway, and the inhibition of all prospects for individual and collective self-realisation. The concepts of alienation and self-estrangement carried both analytical and moral power, as at once explanatory frames for understanding the sources of suffering and resistance and also the sources of motivation to transform it. Some of the mass communist parties of western Europe adopted versions of these ideas as their way of distancing themselves from the largely discredited regimes of central and eastern Europe.
This view of human nature opens up the way to Dickens’s concern with 24 T. Benton the way in which different phases of capitalist development—as well as different locations within capitalist society—impact differently not just on the material conditions of groups of social agents, but on the possibility for them to enjoy a fully human quality of psychic life. Important predecessors in the Frankfurt School of critical theory, notably Adorno, Marcuse, and Habermas, incorporated Freudian insights in developing their own distinctive socio-cultural critiques of late capitalism.