It has been increasingly common to hear talk of the need for “revolutionary action” to break the Anthropocene/Capitalocene trajectory of northern petroculture. Sometimes this talk is deployed by transition-oriented political movements like Sunrise and Extinction Rebellion. At other times, it is the mild liberal-consumerist “join the revolution” discourse put forward by green capitalist ventures. In both cases it raises the question of what is meant by revolution, a term that Arendt observed has both radical and conservative valences. As we contemplate revolutionary solarity in the twenty-first century, we must further settle accounts with the legacy of twentieth-century revolutions, many of which were predicated on energy-intensive and technoaccelerationist principles. This essay discusses what should and should not belong to revolutionary solarity and puts forth an alternate ethical and practical horizon of “revellion” in which the violent legacies of revolution are displaced by a politics that seeks to rewire the overheated pleasure circuits of northern civilization toward the pursuit of humbler joys and playful relations.
Revolution and Revellion: Toward a Solarity Worth Living
Dominic Boyer is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University, Founding Director of the Center Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences (CENHS), and author of The Life Informatic: Newsmaking in the Digital Era (2013) and Energopolitics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene (2019).
Dominic Boyer; Revolution and Revellion: Toward a Solarity Worth Living. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2021; 120 (1): 25–37. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-8795682
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