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Nature, Action and the Future

Nature, Action and the Future
Political Thought and the Environment


Katrina Forrester, Sophie Smith, Annabel Brett, Paul Warde, Fredrick Albritton Jonsson, Malcolm Bull, Deborah Coen, John O'Neill, Thomas Uebel, Melissa Lane, Richard Tuck, David Runciman, Quentin Skinner
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  • Date Published: January 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107199286

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About the Authors
  • Climate change is one of the great challenges of modern politics. In this volume, leading political theorists and historians investigate how the history of political ideas can help us make sense of it. The contributors add a historical perspective to contemporary debates in political theory. They also show that the history of political thought offers new directions for thinking about the environment today. By situating the relationship between humans and nature within a wider history of ideas, the essays provide alternative ways of thinking about the most intractable problems of environmental politics - the status of science in modern democracies, problems of collective action, and the challenges of fatalism. This volume will create new avenues of research for scholars and students in the history of political thought. It is essential reading for undergraduate students interested in environmental challenges: both those in politics seeking a historical perspective, and those in history who want to link their studies to the present.

    • The first volume to show how the history of political thought can address environmental problems and the politics of climate change
    • Includes world-leading historians of political thought discussing the pressing political problem of climate change, many for the first time
    • Readers can explore a range of approaches through essays which combine history and theory in accessible and scholarly ways
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a pathbreaking collection of essays on the place of environmental themes in the history of political thought, and the relevance of that history to today's ecological crises. We will be drawing on these insights for years to come.' Jedediah Purdy, Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law, Duke University, North Carolina

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107199286
    • length: 250 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: history, theory and the environment Katrina Forrester and Sophie Smith
    Part I. Time Nature and the Land:
    2. Is there any place for environmental thinking in early modern European political thought? Annabel Brett
    3. 'Sustainability', resources and the destiny of states in German cameralist thought Paul Warde
    4. Abundance and scarcity in geological time, 1784–1844 Fredrick Albritton Jonsson
    5. Slack Malcolm Bull
    Part II. Science, Agency and the Future:
    6. The nature of fear and the fear of nature from Hobbes to the hydrogen bomb Deborah Coen
    7. Between Frankfurt and Vienna: two traditions of political ecology John O'Neill and Thomas Uebel
    8. Uncertainty, action and politics: the problem of negligibility Melissa Lane
    9. What kind of problem is negligibility: a response to Melissa Lane Richard Tuck
    10. Optimism, pessimism, fatalism David Runciman
    Afterword: climate change in the light of the past Quentin Skinner.

  • Editors

    Katrina Forrester, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Katrina Forrester is assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard University, Massachusetts.

    Sophie Smith, University of Oxford
    Sophie Smith is associate professor of political theory at the University of Oxford.


    Katrina Forrester, Sophie Smith, Annabel Brett, Paul Warde, Fredrick Albritton Jonsson, Malcolm Bull, Deborah Coen, John O'Neill, Thomas Uebel, Melissa Lane, Richard Tuck, David Runciman, Quentin Skinner

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