Feb 6 ENV222 lecture notes.pdf

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School of Environment
Stephen Scharper

10) Feb. 6 Causes: Human power over humans and over nature Mann, Michael (1986). extract from Chapter 3 “The emergence of stratification, states, and multi-power-actor civilization in Mesopotamia.” The Sources of Social Power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 73-89. ! Bookchin, Murray (2005, original publication date1990). "Chapter 27. Society and Ecology." In John S. Dryzek and David Schlosberg, eds. Debating the Earth: The Environmental Politics Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 385-398. ! ! Lecture outline ! The basic argument I make in this lecture is that human capacity to have impacts on the nonhuman world is directly related to the capacity of elite groups of humans to influence the behaviour of masses of humans. The two readings are related to this argument as follows: . Mann (1986) shows that social stratification (power of elites) emerged with the transition from nomadic to fixed settlement societies; . Bookchin (1990) argues that “nearly all ecological problems are social problems” (p. 222, emphasis in original), ie that there is a relationship between stratification and domination in the human world and impacts of humans on the nonhuman world. ! 1. Human power . please review Carter p. 45 three dimensions of power . why do the mass of people obey the command of the small number of people in the elite when the advantage of numbers is so much on the side of the former? because of the third dimension of power . third dimension means the mass sees power of the elite as legitimate believes they have a right to govern (a right given by the gods; by royal birth; by democratic election), and so should be obeyed . third dimension is similar to Mann’s “social cage” – a set of ideas and norms which bind the mass and subject it to the rule of the elite ! 2. Organization as a form of human power . organization is treated here as synonymous with co-ordination . the same number of people, with the same technologies, can vastly increase their power by co-ordinating their activities; by focussing their efforts on just one objective . one effective way of achieving co-ordination is through authority; allowing the leader to issue commands to those whose activities are co-ordinated (self-interest leading to obeying the elite) ! 3. Increasing organizational power . the Roman and Chinese empires were historically able to project power over space, but were hampered by the available technologies of communication and transportation !1 . today, those technologies allow firms to function in globalized markets and states to project power on a global basis . the effectiveness of firms and states has also been augmented by increased knowledge of management techniques . the result is that today the activity of large numbers of humans is directed by elites, greatly increasing their power and also increasing their impact on the nonhuman world ! 4. Related arguments This argument is similar to others. 4.1 Deep Ecology opposite of anthropocentrism, believes nature has inherent worth, believes solution is for humans to leave nature alone, not manage; the Bookchin reading is largely an argument against Deep Ecology ! 4.2 Ecofeminism draws a connection between oppression of women by men and oppression of nature by humans (with positions of elite control being largely held by men); to solve the human-nonhuman problem, we first need to solve the human-human problem of sexism ! 4.3 Ecosocialism draws a connection between domination of labour by capital and domination of nonhuman by humans; again, to solve the latter problem we need to change the social order, moving from capitalism to socialism ! 4.4 Environmental justice draws a connection between domination by whites of other races, eg US black populations living in polluted conditions; to solve the environmental problem we must solve the racism problem ! 4.5 Social ecology advocated by Bookchin; disagrees with Deep Ecology which tends to see humans as a blight upon nature and instead sees human society as having evolved from nature and having potential to manage nature in positive ways (thus agreeing with t
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