Rethinking Gaia: Stengers, Latour, Margulis

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Abstract

At its inception innocent of philosophical or metaphysical designs, the Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis was soon liberated from the precincts of scientific cultivation to enter into cultural free association. Nonetheless, scientific and scholarly attention and debate have long precipitated a bona fide discourse of Gaia theory. Moreover, intellectually serious extra-scientific figures of Gaia have also been on the rise in the last decade. This essay treats a selection of these newer Gaian figures, specifically, Isabelle Stengers’s Gaia the Intruder and Bruno Latour’s secular Gaia, in relation to Lovelock’s Gaia and Lynn Margulis’s evocations of autopoietic Gaia. When nuanced through second-order systems theory, the discourse of autopoietic Gaia satisfies Stengers’s and Latour’s demands for a non-holistic, heterogeneous yet coherent Gaia concept fit for communicative efficacy in the so-called Anthropocene epoch.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-26
Number of pages24
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

Keywords

  • Latour
  • Luhmann
  • autopoiesis
  • biopolitics
  • cybernetics
  • ecology
  • globality

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