IASS Focal Topic Year: “Justice in Sustainability” - Indigenous Climate Politics and Justice between Generations with Prof. Matthias Fritsch

06. Jul. 2022 - 14:00 Uhr bis 15:30 Uhr

The talk proposes a concept of justice for future people that is mindful of Indigenous critiques of the ‘Anthropocene’ and associated climate horror scenarios. I first review these critiques, which suggest that motivating pro-futural care by dreading an impending climate crisis tends to betray a privileged, often settler-colonial perspective. The beneficiaries of colonialism now have the “luxury” of viewing the environmental crisis as one that lies wholly in the future, even if that future starts here, while many Indigenous communities have been living with such a crisis for a long time. On this basis, I then review various Indigenous account of intergenerational relations, in which I find one fundamental and common idea in the claim that present generations owe to descendants because they received a gift from ancestors. Drawing on Marcel Mauss’s work on the premodern and Indigenous notion of the gift, I seek to model and defend this view and its social ontology (I call it ‘asymmetrical reciprocity’). The final section seeks to show how intergenerational reciprocity can help to demarginalize the future: above all, by disallowing a linear view of time according to which a focus on the future permits the neglect of the past. Hence, climate ethics and intergenerational justice must face the history of colonialism.

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Institut für transformative Nachhaltigkeitsforschung (IASS)

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