Critiques of the Industrial Revolution pair it respectively with the twin evils of alienation and the advent of the anthropocene. Such arguments suggest that mechanical and digital technologies alienate individuals from each other and undermine their responsibility towards the future vitality of the places they inhabit. While many environmentalists have proposed a re-emphasis upon the local as a way to cultivate values oriented towards the importance and vitality of community and environment, ecocritic Ursula K. Heise puts forward the alternative notion of eco-cosmopolitanism as way of achieving the same outcome. Eco-cosmopolitanism is "an attempt to envision individuals and groups as part of planetary 'imagined communities' of both human and nonhuman kinds" (Sense of Planet, 2008, p. 61). That is, eco-cosmopolitanism suggests emphasising humans' belonging to global communities--understood to be populated by humans and nonhumans--as the route to foster improved social relations and continued existence in the anthropocene.
This paper reads Jeff Noon's Nymphomation as offering a model of a radical eco-cosmopolitan subjectivity that enjoins a sense of community and belonging, traversing the geographical and ideological boundaries associated with nationality, ethnicity, race, gender and species. The eco-cosmopolitan subjectivity represented in this novel requires the hero to dispense with his self-possession and self-assured independence, and instead open himself to the human and nonhuman other in a relation of inter-dependence, so as to be able to belong to a globally-rendered, human-changed environment. This process of opening oneself to the other is envisioned as transformative for the individual, the society and the environment.
Emma Nicoletti, University of Western Australia, Australia
Stream: Cultural Studies
This paper is part of the ACCS2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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