Eco-Apocalypse: Environmentalism, Political Alienation, and Therapeutic Agency

Book chapter


Ortega Breton, H and Hammond, P (2016). Eco-Apocalypse: Environmentalism, Political Alienation, and Therapeutic Agency. in: Ritzenhoff, K and Krewani, A (ed.) The Apocalypse in Film: Dystopias, Disasters, and Other Visions about the End of the World Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 105-116
AuthorsOrtega Breton, H and Hammond, P
EditorsRitzenhoff, K and Krewani, A
Abstract

For some analysts, today’s representations of apocalypse are simply the latest
version of a “pervasive sense of doom” that has characterized human civilization
for millennia.2 For others, in the context of current environmental
problems, a sense of impending disaster expresses a scientifically supported
assessment of today’s “risk society.” Anthony Giddens argues that
“[d]oomsday is no longer a religious concept, a day of spiritual reckoning,
but a possibility imminent in our society and economy.”3 Our argument is
that the current fascination with the end of the world is best understood
neither as a near-timeless feature of human culture nor as a reasoned response
to objective environmental problems. Rather it is driven by unconscious
fantasy; the symbolic expression of an alienation from political subjectivity,
characteristic of a historically specific period in the life of
post–Cold War societies. With the script of the real apocalypse already written
through scientific projections, how do environmental discourse and popular
culture represent people? We will first consider recent critiques of the use
of apocalypticism in environmental discourse, then examine elite uses of
eco-apocalypse in political discourse, and finally discuss two films that envisage
a world destroyed by catastrophic climate change: The Day After
Tomorrow (2004) and The Age of Stupid (2009).

KeywordsFilm Studies
Page range105-116
Year2016
Book titleThe Apocalypse in Film: Dystopias, Disasters, and Other Visions about the End of the World
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN9781442260276
Publication dates
Print04 Jan 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Aug 2017
Accepted01 Aug 2015
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/8754x

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