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Against Hybridism: Why We Need to Distinguish between Nature and Society, Now More than Ever

In: Historical Materialism
Author:
Andreas Malm Department of Human Geography, Human Ecology Division, Lund University

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Abstract

It is fashionable to argue that nature and society are obsolete categories. The two, we are told, can no longer be distinguished from one another; continuing loyalty to the ‘binary’ of the natural and the social blinds us to the logic of current ecological crises. This article outlines an argument for the opposite position: now more than ever – particularly in our rapidly warming world – we need to sift out the social components from the natural, if we wish to understand the crises and retain the possibility of intervening in them. Tracing the current of hybridism to the writings of Bruno Latour, this article ends with a critique of the foremost proponent of a hybridism in Marxist garb: Jason W. Moore. Against his theories, it suggests that historical materialism is a form of property dualism that distinguishes between social and natural relations while considering them equally material in substance. That is also the analytical premise of ecological class hatred, the flames of which ecological Marxism seeks to fan.

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