Anthropocenic Ecoauthority: The Winds of Oaxaca

Howe, Cymene
April 2014
Anthropological Quarterly;Spring2014, Vol. 87 Issue 2, p381
Academic Journal
This article analyzes the development of wind parks across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Oaxaca, Mexico) and, in turn, how a politics of resistance and local perceptions of environmental peril have challenged renewable energy transitions. In the fraught debates surrounding the massive Mareña Renovables wind park, dramatic distinctions have emerged between local perceptions of ecological conditions and forms of environmental knowledge calibrated to global climate remediation. These divergences indicate distinct ways of imagining and articulating "anthropocenic ecoauthority"--a series of experiential, scientific, and managerial truth-claims regarding ecological knowledge and future forecasting in an era of global anthropogenic change. Whether enunciated by resident communities, state officials, corporate representatives, or environmental experts, ecoauthority gains its particular traction by asserting ethical claims on behalf of, and in regards to, the anthropogenically altered future of the biosphere, human and nonhuman. The article concludes with a discussion of how biopolitical and ecoauthoritative positions coincide, suggesting that although the original sites of biopolitical intervention have been population and the human species, the energic, atmospheric, aquaspheric, and lithospheric shifts that have been dubbed the Anthropocene demand that we account for life in its local dimensions as well as on the scale of the greater planetary bios.


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