Bruno Latour has a new article, or “manifesto,” out in NLH, which is something of a mash-up and extension of two of my favorites, We Have Never Been Modern and Politics of Nature. It’s called “An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto'” & for now at least NLH is letting the pdf go for free.
The liveliest bits include his twin rejection of modern “progress” and postmodern iconoclasm in favor of what he calls “compositionism” or the construction of new things through combinations: “We need to have a much more material, much more mundane, much more immanent, much more realistic, much more embodied definition of the material world if we wish to compose a common world” (484). Some of those terms seem familiar — material, immanent, embodied — but others less so — mundane, realistic, common.
Now that the (modern) age of Nature is over, sez Bruno, “it is time to compose” (487).
Update: Chased down one of Latour’s notes to find a lively op-ed by Erle Ellis, an ecologist at UMBC, “Stop Trying to Save the Planet.” Ellis insists that climate change has been going on, caused by humans for nearly 7000 years, & it’s time to get used to a “used planet.” Ready for a “postnatural environmentalism”? I think I am…