Climate change, green economy and the cosmo-politics of Mesoamerica (and its surroundings)

Cristiano Tallè (University of Naples "L'Orientale")
Francesco Zanotelli (University of Messina)
British Museum - Studio
Start time:
27 May, 2016 at 11:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Meteorological phenomena, in Mesoamerican cosmologies, are social actors that interact with human beings in a common cosmo-political arena. Mesoamerica is also a key area for green policy against climate change. The panel aim is to analyze ethnographically this connection and its frictions.

Long abstract:

The 'green' model of energy resources exploitation has become the dominant paradigm of environmental policies in the globalized economic scene. Mesoamerica is a key area of this 'green turn' in the contemporary era: Mesoamerica is not only the scene of extreme climatic events but is also one of the leading theaters of the economic and political actions against climate changes in Latin America. Despite the rallying cry of 'sustainability', the exploitation of renewable energy sources often acquires, here as elsewhere, the characteristic of 'green grabbing'. Frictions (Tsing) and conflictive situations often produce a paradoxical impasse, that need to be investigated. The panel aims to analyze in the same frame the perspectives of indigenous cosmo-politics (de la Cadena) with the green political economy, the indigenous knowledges with the techno-scientific paradigm. Case-studies taken from Mesoamerica offer a privileged perspective of this matter. Meteorological phenomena (rain, wind, clouds, lightning), in Mesoamerican cosmologies, are endowed with human characteristics and play the role of socio-political actors. In other words, they interact with human beings in a common cosmo-political arena. In the contemporary regime of 'green governmentality', this localized cosmopolitics enters into a complex relationship with the regional, national and trans-national political-economic apparatus, as well as with the extractivist logic of energy production, rooted on techno-scientific knowledge. The panel welcomes papers that analyze this interface rarely investigated from an ethnographic perspective. We also hope in an ethnographically-based dialogue with experts from other sciences that may contribute to better and more comprehensive solutions to these growing challenges. Case studies will be welcome.