Anthropogenic redress: an ideological framework for confrontation and praxis

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexandra Mae Foote (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Beth Huber

Abstract: This thesis claims that because the present anthropocene (human caused mass extinction) is a human-incurred phenomenon, it is inescapably ideological. A critical approach to problem solving necessitates a deep analysis of underlying causes and their potential relation to solutions. The following shapes a theoretical framework for understanding, interpreting, and working with ideology, and draws from the work of prominent theorists Mikhail Bakhtin, Kenneth Burke, Frederick Nietzsche, Steven Yarbrough, Simone Weil, Jean Baudrillard, and Felix Guattari. Ideology is framed as a complex and ultimately inherent aspect of not only discourse, but consciousness itself. That framework then facilitates an analysis of consumer culture, the direct perpetrator of environmental destruction. Consumer culture is explicated in terms of a coalescent metaphor that illustrates the nature of force itself, a particular iteration of which operates through the western hegemonic paradigm. The perfidious influence of this destructive force interweaves with our external practices of production and consumption and with our internal experience of self, and often leaves the individual with an illusory sense of powerlessness and reality. The nature of dichotomy is explored as an integral structure of our conceptualization that both perpetuates the status quo and that is fundamentally misunderstood. A praxis for re-orientation then suggests means for creating ideological shifts that can potentially challenge the conditioning of consumer culture and incur transformative change in the lives of individuals and, by extension, the institutional practices that are causing biospheric devastation. An analysis of the function of social roles, agency, the integration of responsibility, and metaphors highlight potential tools available to us in the endeavor of ideological reconstruction. Finally, personal interviews with alternative spiritualists are included that provide counter-hegemonic perspectives and advice that augment the praxis put forth. This thesis addresses a problem that requires our immediate and persistent attention—human-caused biospheric destruction incurred by our deleterious consumer culture— both by incorporating essential theory for understanding and challenging that insidious ideology and by incorporating specific tactics that confer immediate individual benefit and change: namely present moment awareness and a cultivation of intentional relationality with the earth.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Anthropocene, Consumer culture, Envrionmentalism, Ideology, Spirtuality
Consumption (Economics) -- Environmental aspects
Environmental degradation
Nature -- Effect of human beings on

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