Review of ICI Fellow Sanjay Chaturvedi’s Climate Terror Book

 

We are pleased to share a recent book review highlighting former ICI Fellow Sanjay Chaturvedi and his co-authored book Climate Terror: A Critical Geopolitics of Climate Change with Timothy Doyle (New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). This latest review was written by Matthew Sparke in the journal Space and Polity (Oct, 2017).

Sparke writes:

As creative as it is critical, this innovative enquiry into the geopolitics of climate change is also at once discomforting and disorienting. It focuses on how the power relations dividing the ‘majority world’ of the global south from the ‘minority world’ of privileged polluters transform how the threats of climate change are both represented and experienced. The two authors, Sanjay Chaturvedi and Timothy Doyle, argue on this basis that it is critical to question all-encompassing anthropocene appeals to a single global ‘we’ of responsibility and response. Without questioning scientific depictions of anthropogenic climatic disruption on a planetary scale, they nevertheless present a compelling series of contrapuntal contrasts between the ways in which the resulting risks are conceptualized by the powerful and confronted by the vulnerable. The result is a sobering review of what they call the ‘climate terror industry’, an industry that in their account constructs ‘climate terror’ at the intersection of a geopolitics of fear and a geoeconomics of hope to advance ‘a largely conservative grand-strategy deployed by faltering sovereign states, at various stages of neo-liberal embrace, to discipline and regulate various faultlines in statecraft’ (page xii)…

As interdisciplinary as they are international in their approach, Chaturvedi and Doyle develop their international relations interventions in a way that draws as much on political geography as it does on political science and political theory. They closely engage the work of many geographers including John Agnew, Noel Castree, Simon Dalby, David Demeritt, Klaus Dodds, Emily Gilbert, Jennifer Hyndman, Rachel Pain, Susan Roberts, Anna Secor, Jo Sharp and, I must acknowledge here, myself. These generous and constructive engagements lead to particularly useful adaptations of critical geopolitical arguments by geographers. The book presents the geopolitics of fear and the geoeconomics of hope in this way as powerfully reterritorializing geostrategic discourses that recode the implications of climate change with imaginative geographies that make some supposed threats and opportunities visible at the same time as they obscure any analysis of the causes of climate change that might disrupt neo-liberal business as usual. It is in this way that Chaturvedi and Doyle show how those who are most vulnerable are recoded through a geopolitics of fear as the most dangerous. Reciprocally they demonstrate that it is through a geoeconomics of hope that climate change is variously securitized and financialized as an opportunity for military planning, market making or both. As a result, the book avoids the theoretical pitfalls of partitioning geopolitics and geoeconomics into distinct eras or spaces, and instead contributes important new evidence about their cogenerational dialectics as entangled geostrategic discourses…

You can read the full review here [pdf] or online here.

You can also read other posts on our site featuring this book and related work below.

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