Simcock, Adam (2018) MacIntyre and green political thought: deliberative eco-politics for dependent rational animals. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Ecologism is a political ideology that emerged in the 1970s. It challenged the neoliberal privileging of economic growth over environmental protection and a narrow conception of the self as autonomous, rational and self-interested. Ecologism’s normative challenge has grown quiet as it became perceived as too inward looking and focused on the self, rather than engaged with issues such as climate change that now preoccupy green political thought. However, in the early 21st century, neoliberalism now dominates western democracies. This turn away from the self and normative opposition to neoliberalism has clearly not furthered the environmental cause, and so there is a need to return to re-politicise the ontological arguments of ecologism.

A small number of green political theorists have begun to look towards the Thomistic Aristotelianism of Alasdair MacIntyre and this thesis seeks to add to their number. I argue that MacIntyre’s work concerning the self as dependent rational animal, and arguments for the political and social structures that support this self, can be used to affirm and reengage ecological arguments with politics. MacIntyre’s thought moves ecologism away from its “inward-turn”, concerned with the self’s personal experience of the environment, to a collective politics that looks outwardly to challenge the dominant neoliberal order.

In bringing ecologism into conversation with MacIntyre’s philosophy, the original contribution I offer ecological political theory is two-fold. Firstly, the virtues of acknowledged dependence can be used to reflect substantive concern for the environment within political deliberation. Secondly, I develop MacIntyre’s conception of localized deliberative democracy. In order to counter claims that such localization is naïve, I bring MacIntyre’s ideal into conversation with Murray Bookchin’s model of municipal libertarianism and consider two real world examples: Rojava in northern Syria and the ‘Idle no More movement’ in Canada. These examples offer hopeful evidence that decentralised deliberative politics, starting from acknowledging our dependence, can oppose the hegemony of neoliberalism both socially and ecologically.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment
Contributors: MacGregor, Sherilyn (Thesis advisor)
Dobson, Andrew (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2018 08:39
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2020 08:56

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