The Knowledge Politics of Security in the Anthropocene
The Knowledge Politics of Security in the Anthropocene
The Knowledge Politics of Security in the Anthropocene
The Knowledge Politics of Security in the Anthropocene

The Project

Human activity is changing the Earth. Man-made planetary changes potentially threaten wellbeing and security around the world. But how do we actually know about these risks? How do we see our impact on the planet? How do we anticipate the planetary future? Our research project seeks answers to these questions.


To anticipate, manage and control the risks of unfolding environmental changes, humans have developed a whole range of instruments and tools. These knowledge practices – including simulation, remote sensing, mapping, or scenario planning – do not simply depict a pre-existing reality. Instead, they bring about multiple versions of the environment and enable different forms of intervention. The research project studies these forms of world-making and their underlying cosmologies in the fields of Climate Science, security policy, and civil protection. It asks how tools and methods of anticipating environmental risks circulate between these different epistemic fields. It traces the actor-networks and their knowledge practices in three in-depth case studies: remote sensing, resilience promotion and geoengineering.

Cases

Without the view from space we would not know about many human-made transformations of the Earth system. Modern satellite technology allows us to detect large-scale changes of the Earth’s surface and to monitor the composition of the atmosphere or the condition of vegetation. Satellite remote sensing data is thus used to detect environmental risks including resource scarcities and resulting conflicts, natural disasters and environmental displacement. With the recent rise of geospatial big data, satellite technologies even promise to predict the future. We investigate how experts in the security and civil protection fields draw on satellite remote sensing  to anticipate future environmental threats. We trace the actor-networks emerging around these anticipatory forms of governance. Finally, we study the socio-technical imaginaries and aesthetic conventions that inform techniques of satellite forecasting.

In recent years, the concept of resilience has become the dominant approach to providing security against the risks of the Anthropocene. Resilience accepts the unpredictability of a dynamic world that is marked by non-linear change. Resilience promotion projects thus seek to prepare vulnerable populations, regions or infrastructures for the unpredictable. Following a rationale of “the people know best”, resilience promotion projects seek to mobilize local, tacit forms of knowledge. A whole range of techniques, including participatory mapping, stakeholder workshops or community-theatre, are applied to activate the self-help potential of vulnerable communities. The project studies the underlying knowledge politics of resilience and asks about its effects on local communities.

Geoengineering refers to human attempts to intervene in the Earth’s climate system – for example by injecting aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight or by absorbing and storing CO2 from the atmosphere. Researchers agree that such proposals bear considerable risks. Their governance entails an important temporal element, as geoengineering is about shaping or even bringing about a not yet realized future. Our research project will further these debates by studying how different planetary futures are (re-) produced, visualized and imagined within existing SRM research projects and geoengineering proposals. It scrutinizes how security actors anticipate the future risks of geoengineering. Finally, we are interested in genealogies of Anthropocene discourses and trace the historical epistemes that made the idea of intervening in the Earth System possible in the first place.

Activities

John Urry

John Urry Memorial Prize 2020

Andrew Baldwin, Christiane Fröhlich and Delf Rothe are being awarded for their contribution to their Special Issue on Anthropocene Mobilities

Andrew Baldwin, Christiane Föhlich and our team member Delf Rothe have been awarded for the Introduction of their Special Issue with the Title „From Climate Migration to Anthropocene Mobilities: Shifting the Debate“ (Vol 14, No, 3) as the most significant contribution to Mobilities published in 2019. By connecting contemporary discussions on the ontology of the Anthropocene with a framing of mobilities and different perspectives on migration politics, the awarded article, according to the jury, furthers critical social thought on the Anthropocene and develops a novel perspective at one of the most pressing issues of our time. The John Urry Memorial Prize s being awarded annually by the Editors of the Journal Mobilities in honour to its founding Editor and Sociologist from Lancaster University John Urry and his research in the field of mobility studies.

Uni of Malta 5

New EISA Section International Relations in the Anthropocene

Call for Papers for this year’s EISA conference in Malta

For the next three years 2020-2022, the Eupopean International Studies Association (EISA) has a new semi-standing section on „International Relations in the Anthropocene“. During the first two years the section will be chaired by David Chandler (University of Westminster) and Delf Rothe (IFSH Hamburg). For this year’s Pan-European Conference on International Relations (16 to 19 September in Msida at the University of Malta) we welcome proposals for papers, panels and roundtables that address the challenges of the Anthropocene for International Relations (broadly construed). The call for papers, which is open until March 16, as well as more detailed information about the conference can be accessed here.

IMG_5204

An Inconvenient Truth

Film screening and public discussion at the Abaton Cinema in Hamburg

Our On January 7, 2020, documentary movie „An Inconvenient Truth“ (Guggenheimer 2006) was screened at  the Abaton Cinema in Hamburg as part of the movie/lecture series Future, Society and Technology. Following the movie screening, Delf Rothe and Beate Ratter, who is professor of geography and climate research at the University of Hamburg, discussed about the movie, the current state of the climate regime, the role of technology and of images in global climate politics. The lecture series is organized by the Hamburg Open Online University and consists of seven movie screenings dealing with issues including Artificial Intelligence, drone warfare, globalization, surveillance and climate change.

Violent Climate Imaginaries

New Publication: Violent Climate Imaginaries

Science-Fiction-Politics. IFSH Research Reports, No.1, 2019.

Our team members Ann-Kathrin Benner and Delf Rothe have published a research report on Violent Climate Imaginaries together with colleagues Sara Ullström and Johannes Stripple from the University of Lund. The article discusses how violent imaginaries of climate change are produced and how they spread in the fields of science, popular culture and politics. Furthermore, it studies how climate change operates as a source or even a form of violence and to what extend imaginaries of climate change can exert violence themselves. The Research Report is the outcome of an ongoing cooperation between the Universities of Hamburg and Lund and the interdisciplinary workshop on „violent climate imaginaries“ that took place at the IFSH from 11-12 February 2019.

Apocalyptic riders

Governing the End Times?

Open Access article on the apocalyptic imaginary of the Anthropocene published in Millennium

The article, which was published online first on December 12, 2019, argues that the anthropocene is basically a secular form of eschatology – the Christian doctrine of the end of times. Drawing upon a linear notion of time and addressing the problems of irreversibility and extinction, it draws on key symbols and images of the Christian apocalypse. Engaging with the emerging debate on planet politics, the article identifies three competing discourses on the Anthropocene and related planet political projects: eco-catastrophism, eco-modernism and planetary realism. Each of these projects takes a different position towards the threat of the end of times. The political implications of these are discussed in the article.

I sky with my little eye

Paper I Spy with my Little Eye...

The Visual Politics of Geoengineering

Ann-Kathrin Benner and Delf Rothe presented their paper on the Visual Politics of Geoengineering at the workshop on „Scenarios and the Politics of Future and the Climate Security Nexus“, 14-15 November 2019 at the University of Hamburg. Two weeks later they discussed the same paper at the workshop „Security Practices and Security Technologies“ at the University of Marburg, 5-6 December 2019. The workshop was organized by the research group „Critical Security Studies“ of the German Political Science Association (GPSA).

DSCN9687

European Space Week

Field research on the EU’s space programmes

Delf Rothe and Ann-Kathrin Benner attended this year’s European Space Week in Helsinki from December 3rd until December 5th 2019 to conduct field research. The European Space Week is an annual event hosted by the European Commmission. This year’s four central themes were the „role of space solutions for strengthening the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action“, „new space economy for sustainable growth“, „sustainable space economy“ and „space solutions for sustainable Artic“. A Hackathon, a bootcamp for startups, panel discussions with members of the European Commission and EU Copernicus, and the „Space Oscars“ cerenomy provided a fruitful atmosphere to engage with matters of governing and securing complex risks by means of satellite imaging and remote sensing.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Climate Migration Myths

Commentary in Nature Climate Change

A group of 31 international scholars, including our team member Delf Rothe, have published a commentary in Nature Climate Change that problematizes existing research on climate-induced migration. By reproducing generalized narratives about large-scale climate migration, existing research risks fueling anti-migration sentiment and thus involuntarily playing into the hands of right-wing political actors. The researchers make the case for a mobility lense on climate-migration – one that accounts for the complexity and context-dependency of climate change and migration links.

Anthropocene Mobilities_Website

Launch of Anthromob.space

New web platform on migration and environmental change is now online

Anthropocene mobilities is an international network of scholars and experts who collectively discuss the question of how to address the phenomenon of mobility through the lens of the Anthropocene. Anthromob.space is a new online platform to facilitate debates about these issues through short intervention pieces, video interviews, and visual interventions on this topic. The webpage lets you explore the richness of human and non-human stories of mobility and migration in four interactive episodes: mobile ontologies, colonial archives, worlds in motion and posthuman future(s).

Solar Radiation Workshop2

Debating Climate Engineering

Students discuss opportunities and perils of Solar Radiation Management

Dr. Delf Rothe and Ann-Kathrin Benner hosted a Debating Session on Solar Radiation Management (SRM) with high school students from Hamburg and Buxtehude. Simulating a debate of the British House of Commons, the pupils discussed whether SRM technologies should be developed. While the first group visiting found the arguments of the government more convincing, the second group decided that SRM is too risky and potentially harmful for socio-environmental systems. A team of journalists from each group tweeted live from the debate via @anthroposec. The event took place in the framework of the Hamburg Climate Week (23th – 29th September 2019).

20191210_111754

Special Issue Anthropocene Mobilities

The Special Issue Anthropocene Mobilities has been published in the Journal Mobilities (Vol. 14, Issue 3).

Christiane Fröhlich, Andrew Baldwin and Delf Rothe co-edited the issue, which seeks to develop a new perspective on environmental change and migration in an age of increased mobility. The five research articles and four forum contributions discuss mobility as a key ontological feature of the Anthropocene, scrutinize the entanglement of human and non-human forms of mobility and thereby trouble the existing discourse on climate refugees.

DSCN9904

Presentation at the EPSE Summer School

Presentation on Violent Imagineries of Climate Change at the Eurasian Peace Network (EPSE) Summer School

Ann-Kathrin Benner gave a presentation on „Violent Imagineries of Climate Change“ at the 2019 Summer School of the Eurasien Peace Exchange Network. Funded by the Norwegian research council, this summer school took place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from 3rd until 9th June 2019.

In the discussion following the presentation, participants pointed out the ambiguity of violence as a concept from an anthropological point of view and confronted the imagineries in the presentation with collected stories about future (non-)impacts of climate change from their professional backgrounds and everyday lives. 

Entering the Anthropocene

Delf Rothe participates in public panel at the artspace Âme Nue in Hamburg

The panel, which took place on June 13, 2019, was part of an exhibition on environmental change in the Suwalki Corridor by the Hamburg-based photographer Robin Hinsch. The Suwalki Corridor is a 65-kilometer-wide strip of territory linking Poland with Lithuania and considered as NATO’s most vulnerable choke point along its eastern flank. Robin Hinsch visited this potential conflict zone, to find a region that was shaped not so much by its geopolitical position but  by intense agriculture, droughts and a changing  climate. Delf discussed with the artist and Wolfgang Wopperer-Beholz from Extinction Rebellion, London, about the role of art in making sense of climate change and its local manifestations.

ISA Annual Convention 2019

From 26-30 March Delf Rothe attended the 60th annual convention of the International Studies Association in Toronto.

Delf was part of a roundtable on „Critical International Relations (IR) and the Politics of Climate Change“ including Stefanie Fishel, Eva Lövbrand, Anthony Burke, Robyn Eckersley, Scott Hamilton. Organized by Matt McDonald the roundtable discussed the contribution of critical IR to the current debate on the Anthropocene.

Delf furthermore presented a paper on the relation of visuality, technology and security in the Anthropocene on the panel „World Political Compositions“ and a paper on the genealogy of the Anthropocene on panel on „Genealogies of bio-technical worlds“.

Violent Climate Imaginaries (VICTIM)

Researchers from the University of Hamburg and University of Lund meet at the IFSH in Hamburg to discuss research grant proposal on violent climate imagineries.

The workshop „violent imaginaries of climate change“ (VICTIM) took place on February 11th-12th 2019 at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy in Hamburg. Criminologists, peace researchers, linguists, science fiction writers and social scientists discussed the empirical finding that social impacts of climate change are often portrayed as violent in literature, film and science and how this lack of imagination impacts current climate politics.  The University of Hamburg seed-funded the workshop. It serves as the point of departure for drafting a larger research grant proposal on imaginaries of violent climate change.

Upcoming Events

1-4 July 2020 // Workshop „(Re-)Imagining Security: Between Science, Technology and Fiction“ at the 7th European Workshops in International Studies, Brussels

16-19 September 2020 // Section „IR in the Anthropocene“ at the 14th Pan-European Conference on International Studies, University of Malta – Msida, Malta

7-9 October 2020 // Panel „The Politics of Resilience between Adaptation and Resistance“ at the triennial conference of the IR-section of the German Political Science Association (DVPW), University of Freiburg

Follow us on Twitter

People

ifsh-rothe-0030

Delf Rothe

Principal Investigator

Delf is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH). He is particularly interested in critical approaches to security, discourse theory, new materialism, security technologies and visual politics. Within the project, he is responsible for the two case studies on satellite remote sensing and resilience.

Ann-Kathrin Benner

Researcher

Ann-Kathrin is a political scientist and researcher at IFSH. She is interested in the linkages between imagination, anticipation and governance in the light of anthropogenic environmental changes. Within the project, she focuses on the anticipation of geoengineering risks and historic predecessors to the Anthropocene debate.

 

F11A8714cd

Annika Reinke

Student Assistant

Annika is a master’s student in Sociology at the UHH. She is interested in Knowledge Politics and in Environmental Sociology. Within the project, she supports the research work and takes care of administrative matters.

Network

Collaborative research network and interactive web platform hosted by Christiane Fröhlich (German Institute of Global and Area Studies Hamburg) and Delf Rothe (Institute of Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg)

Conceptual Taskforce of the Earth System Governance Project convened by Eva Lövbrand (Linköping University, Sweden) and Frank Biermann (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)

Research Group at Universität Hamburg as part of the as part of the Cluster of Excellence “Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction“ (CliSAP) led by Jürgen Scheffran

Project blog by David Shim, Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, International Relations and International Organisation

Scholarly online platform that offers means & methods to integrate anthropocene content, community, data, and debate

Geopolitics and security in the Anthropocene. Working Package led by Malin Mobjörk (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

Collaborative research network between Universität Hamburg and the University of Lund led by Associate Professor Johannes Stripple (University of Lund) and Delf Rothe (IFSH)

Network funded by the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) enabling the exchange between science and practice in questions of peace and security in the outer space

International research project led by Jonathan Luke Austin and Anna Leander (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Contact

Dr. Delf Rothe
IFSH
Beim Schlump 83
20144 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0) 40-866077-85

Imprint

Click here for the  Imprint

Click here for the  Privacy Policy

Follow Us

© All rights reserved anthropocene-security.org

Menü schließen