William E. Connolly is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches political theory. He is a former editor of Political Theory and one of the cofounders of Theory & Event. His recent books include The Fragility of Things; A World of Becoming; Capitalism and Christianity, American Style; and Pluralism, all also published by Duke University Press.
Sociocentrism, the Anthropocene, and the Planetary
This chapter criticizes continuing tendencies to sociocentrism and humanist exceptionalism in the humanities and human sciences. To discern these tendencies in their strong form the chapter compares four diverse modernists: Rousseau, Isaiah Berlin, Hayek, and Marx. The idea of the Anthropocene is revised along several dimensions to take into account more actively the bumpy history of planetary processes before capitalism and other extractive cultures and to dramatize regional asymmetries in the sources and effects of climate change.