Arianne Françoise Conty introduces her paper ‘The Politics of Nature: New Materialist Responses to the Anthropocene‘.
In order to explore some of the divergences within new materialism and elucidate their relationship to actor-network theory, this article will develop Latour’s theory of agency and then compare it to those new materialists who uphold a ‘flat ontology’ that includes technological tools (Jane Bennett) and those who uphold an animate/inanimate distinction (Tim Ingold and Eduardo Kohn). In light of the ecological crisis called the Anthropocene, the dissolution of the animate/inanimate distinction will be defended in order to address both polar bears and glaciers, coral reefs and clown fish. Though Latour himself has defended such a dissolution, his political proposals to address the ecological crisis revert back to the modern and dualist position he has himself critiqued for so long. Using the gains of actor-network theory, while differentiating a new materialist ecological politics from that of Latour, will be shown to be necessary in order to find a solution to the crisis of the Anthropocene.