Enchanted Ecologies and Ethics of Care
Associate Professor Stine Krøijer and Associate Professor Cecilie Rubow have edited the special section ‘Enchanted ecologies and ethics of care’ of the American journal Environmental Humanities, Volume 14, Issue 2.
The special section takes its point of departure in political philosopher Jane Bennett’s concept of enchantment and her discussion of how moods of enchantment may inform an ethics of care. The contributions, which are followed by an afterword written by Bennett herself, aim to rethink the concept of enchantment and unfold what an ethic of care may look like in times of ecological crises.
In their common introduction, Stine Krøijer and Cecilie Rubow outlines Bennett’s conceptual groundwork and its reception and discusses its continued analytical purchase for understanding the unsettling moods and contradictory affects produced by colonialism and ecological change. Building on recent anthropological contributions to the ethics of care, the authors propose to broaden the way in which we think about ethical doings, so they also come to involve unsettling affects, various subjectivities, and more dynamic ecological relations.
Contrary to the taken-for-granted dictum in nature politics and in public media that “loving nature prompts care,” the article considers less intuitive relations between love and ethics. Through the analysis of different enactments of natures in Denmark and a reading of Jane Bennett’s Enchantment of Modern Life, it captures how sensibilities and moralities swing from anethical moments to affective forms of responsibility.
By comparing walks at a recreational beach with activists’ campaigns at a peri-urban commons and a climate activist march in the capital centre, Cecilie Rubow proposes, inspired by Bennett, to think of a variation of chords of wonder and ethics. Dissonantly, the chords of the enchanted ecologies range from magical moments in remote nature to love and respect for co-living plants and animals, and to the perplexing and motivational awareness of one’s entwinement with the whole planet. This reconceptualisation of enchantment speaks to the depth of the ecological crises.
Also see the full content of the issue: Environmental Humanities, Volume 14, Issue 2