Ethical Economic and Ecological Engagements in Real(ity) Time: Experiments with Living Differently in the Anthropocene
The Anthropocene offers us an opportunity to be affected by different temporalities and participate in a newly constituted collective. This paper examines select examples of actual and fictional reality TV programs in which ordinary people wrestle with concerns that are explicitly not those of the neoliberal capitalist imaginary, but are attuned to the task of changing everyday embodied practices of surviving well, distributing wealth, encounter- ing, connecting, and sharing with others. I am concerned with how to take these sparks of an emerging and different common sense and fan them into widespread collective action that reshapes the way we live on this planet. I draw on four inspirational threads of thinking to consider what a politics of participation might be in the Anthropocene: Michael Hardt’s conception of a militant biopolitics, the ideas of Michel Callon and John Law about qualculation, William Connolly’s insights into affective registers that resonate with the ‘sweetness of life’, and J.K. Gibson-Graham’s diverse economy (re)framing. I argue for the need to support experiments with living in new ways by differentiating our economic world and opening up the economy as a site of ethical practice that acknowledges being-in-common with human and earth others.
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