New Formations Volume 2022 Issue 107 & 108

ISSN 0950-2378

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Living with Extinction

All of the articles and interviews in this double issue address the thematics of extinction or climate crisis: as experience, threat, cause or effect. We explore the science and dissemination of climate tipping-points, the politics of their acceptance or contestation, their cultural impacts, including the kinds of optimism and despair, activism and inaction, paralysing fear of the future, ‘futilitarianism’ or cynical carelessness of the present that they can inspire. Such concerns might be thought to be outside the scope of a journal best known for its contributions to the critical humanities. But the question of what has allowed the current crisis to develop – socially, culturally, politically, economically, institutionally and philosophically – and why its resolution proves so intractable, cannot be answered without recourse to expansive interdisciplinarity. As our title suggests, the danger posed by climate change to many forms of life on earth, and the existential threat currently faced by humanity in particular, are major preoccupations for several of our contributors. Most are concerned with the question of extinction – and particularly, but not exclusively, human extinction. But all acknowledge that by far the greatest cause for concern today are the lethal consequences of anthropogenic climate change. The concept of the ‘Anthropocene’ – the intervention of humans into the planetary ecosystem – has been both much employed and widely criticised. We explore this tension here, looking at the history of the concept and some of the criticisms to which it has been subject, as well as considering ‘virtual’ life beyond the Anthropocene. This volume also tackles the ecocidal tendencies of contemporary capitalism; nuclear weapons as an ongoing existential threat; the history of thinking about extinction within the tradition of continental philosophy; temporal and spatial scale variance; the business of space migration; progressive degrowth; and the role of media and popular culture in circulating ideas about extinction and the threats posted by climate change. Alongside this wide range of articles, we include important interventions in the form of conversations with Claire Colebrook and Kate Soper, while the relationship between military and environmental destruction is explored in Bruno Latour’s short but typically penetrating contribution: one of his very last published works.


Editorial, pages 4‑11
David Bennett, Jeremy Gilbert lock_openFree to download

The Unanticipated Pleasures of the Future: Degrowth, Post-Growth and Popular Cultural Economies, pages 12‑29
Mark Banks

Destiny and the Future, pages 30‑47
Claire Colebrook

Extinctiopolitics: Existential Risk Studies, the Extinctiopolitical Unconscious, and the Billionaires’ Exodus from Earth, pages 48‑65
Joe P.L. Davidson

Nuclear Weapons and Extinction as Progress, pages 66‑83
Michael Gardiner

The Popular Culture of Extinction and the Racialisation of Survival, pages 84‑100
Ben Pitcher

The End of Days Deferred: Imperative Agency, Collective Responsibility, and Corporate Communication, pages 101‑117
Stuart Price

The Way Home: Space Migration and Disorientation, pages 118‑138
Debra Benita Shaw

Beginning Again at the End: A Dialectics of Extinction Ben Ware, pages 139‑154
Ben Ware lock_openFree to download

Scale Critique for the Anthropocene, Part Two, pages 155‑170
Derek Woods

Kainos Anthropos: Existential Precarity and Human Universality in the Earth System Anthropocene, pages 171‑190
Daniel Zimmer


Living in Overlapping States of War, pages 191‑197
Bruno Latour - translated by David Bennett

Extinction and the Anthropocene: To End or Mend the World?, pages 198‑214
A Conversation with Claire Colebrook lock_openFree to download

The Pleasures and Challenges of Degrowth, pages 215‑229
A Conversation with Kate Soper lock_openFree to download


Bruno Latour’s Climate Evangelism, pages 230‑235
Barbara Herrnstein Smith lock_openFree to download

News from the Back of Beyond, pages 236‑240
Ben Highmore lock_openFree to download

Laughing Then Thinking, pages 241‑244
Eva Haifa Giraud lock_openFree to download

Booknote, pages 245‑247
Stephanie Ifill lock_openFree to download

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