David John Kenkel

Placing People in Time


Abstract: In this work I am interested in exploring the putative nature of future subjects /persons in politico-social community able to live in ways allowing a reciprocally sustaining relationship between people and place over time. A starting premise of the work is that a range of environmental and societal predicaments will need to be managed in future decades. The work draws on a range of theoretical traditions, including social constructionist views of the self and positivist research on the environmental challenges the future will bring. A critical grounded theory abductive approach is used to explore possibilities that may emerge from the discursive human relationship with what seems likely to be an increasingly difficult future environmental and societal reality. Following a critical theory tradition, a central tenet of the work is a critical stance towards the global socio-economic influence of neo-liberalism on capacity to shift away from endless growth capitalism and the concomitant rapid degradation of the environment. The work is not hopeful about halting or fixing environmental or societal degradation. Instead, and in alignment with Guattari’s (1989) call for needed new subjective ecologies of the social, mental and the environmental, hope is explored through new possibilities for subjectivity likely to emerge in consequence of the potential predicaments the future will bring.