Postpolitics and the Limits of Nature

Critical Theory, Moral Authority, and Radicalism in the Anthropocene

By Andy Scerri

Subjects: Critical Theory, Environmental Philosophy, History, Cultural Studies, Sociology
Series: SUNY series in New Political Science
Hardcover : 9781438472133, 292 pages, January 2019
Paperback : 9781438472140, 292 pages, January 2020

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Table of contents


1. From Mimetic Expression to the Rational Mastery of Nature

2. Holism, Modernism, and “the Problem of the Environment”

3. From Enlightenment Hubris to Neo-Enlightenment Humility

4. Globalization, Neoliberalism, and Neocommunitarianism

5. Postpolitics and the Return of Moral Authority

6. Meaning Lost, Meaning Refound . . .


Explores why past generations of radical ecological and social justice scholarship have been ineffective, and considers the work of a new wave of scholarship that aims to reinvent the radical project and combat injustice.


In Postpolitics and the Limits of Nature, Andy Scerri offers a comprehensive overview of the critical theory project from the 1960s to the present, refracted through the lens of US politics and the American Left. He examines why past generations of radical ecological and social justice scholarship have been ineffective in the fight against injustice and rampant environmental exploitation. Scerri then engages a new wave of radicals and reformists who, in the wake of the Occupy movement and the 2016 presidential election, are reinventing the radical project as a challenge to injustice in the Anthropocene era. Along the way, he provides a fresh account of the thought of one of the major contributors to critical theory, Theodor Adorno, and of recent work that seeks to link Adorno's ideas to the so-called new realism in political philosophy and political theory.

Andy Scerri is Assistant Professor of Politics at Virginia Tech and author of Greening Citizenship: Sustainable Development, the State and Ideology.


"This book is something like an histoire événementielle of contending philosophies of nature and the natural in relation to economy and politics over the past 60-odd years. What is impressive is the way Scerri situates the many different activists/scholars and views in the transition from Keynesian regulatory society to naturalized neoliberalism. Thus, authors are treated not as timeless purveyors of theory but, rather, as political economists rooted in the trends and currents of their particular time. I believe this will be an important book. " — Ronnie D. Lipschutz, coauthor of Environmental Politics for a Changing World: Power, Perspectives, and Practice, Second Edition