Histcon.se Time, Memory and Representation Tid, Minne, Representation

A Multidisciplinary Program on Transformations in Historical Consciousness

Ett mångdisciplinärt forskningsprogram om historiemedvetandets förvandlingar

Alf Hornborg

Professor of Human Ecology, Lund University

Biography

B. 1954. Professor of Human Ecology, Lund University. PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Uppsala University 1986. Has published widely on global environmental history and the indigenous cultures of South America. Co-recipient of Linnaean grant for LUCID: Lund University Centre of Excellence for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability.

Ongoing research

Modernity as Social Space: The Temporalization of Global Inequalities

This study explores the extent to which it is possible to reconceptualize modernity as less of a period in historical time than a position in social space. Building on world-system analyses of global inequalities, it attempts to define modernity as a privileged social condition made possible at certain positions within global systems of resource flows.

It experiments with a radically non-hegemonic interpretation of the modern condition as a mode of life that cannot be offered as the goal of global development, because it is a condition that is physically and socio-economically impossible to universalize. Such a reframing of various aspects of what are popularly perceived as “premodern” vs. “modern” lifestyles requires a systematic scrutiny of their socio-ecological prerequisites.

It contributes to a radical questioning of the condescending attitude that throughout history tends to permeate the approach of the affluent classes to the supposedly backward peoples in the global periphery. Rather than representing a past historical period (a “then”) within an evolutionist sequence, the so-called “less developed” populations of the world can be recognized as occupying a complementary – and contemporary – social space (a “there”).

Following the publication of a book in Swedish on this theme (Hornborg 2010b), I have published several invited international articles (2010a, 2011a, 2011b, 2011e) and a book (2011c) on its implications for a renewed way of writing environmental history and the history of technology. I have also published a Swedish chapter (2011d) on the structural, selective logic of modernity as a temporal process. Another article, published both in English (2012) and Swedish (2014d), provides a historical perspective on industrialized modernity by juxtaposing some European attitudes to technology in 1812, 1912 and 2012.

The general world-system approach to technological progress is developed in a series of invited international articles for edited collections and encyclopedias (2013, 2014c, 2014e, 2015c), and in an article on technological fetishism published in Theory, Culture & Society (2014b). With co-author Andreas Malm, I was invited to write a critique of contemporary discussions on the “Anthropocene” (2014a) for the inaugural issue of The Anthropocene Review. The problems of historiography raised by the notion of the Anthropocene are also central to the chapter (2015b) I was invited to write for a Routledge volume on this topic, and for my recent discussion of the contradiction between Marxist and posthumanist approaches to environmental history (2016b).

My concern with the global environmental aspects of technological progress has further been presented in an expanded Swedish translation (2015a), at the publishers’ initiative, of my previously mentioned 2011 Routledge volume. I have also elaborated a long-term, comparative perspective on industrialization as a strategy for imperial expansion (forthcoming) for an Oxford encyclopedia, and published a book on this theme for Palgrave Macmillan (2016a).

Selected bibliography

 

2016a, Hornborg, A., Global Magic: Technologies of Appropriation from Ancient Rome to Wall Street. Palgrave Macmillan.
2016b, Hornborg, A., Artifacts have consequences, not agency: Toward a critical theory of global environmental history. European Journal of Social Theory [published online].
forthcoming, Hornborg, A., The Ecology of Empire: From “Ecological Imperialism” to Imperialism as an Ecological Process. P. Bang & W. Scheidel, eds., The Oxford World History of Empire.
2015a, Hornborg, A., Nollsummespelet: Teknikfetischism och global miljörättvisa. Daidalos.
2015b, Hornborg, A., The political ecology of the Technocene: Uncovering ecologically unequal exchange in the world-system. C. Hamilton, C. Bonneuil & F. Gemenne, eds., The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis: Rethinking Modernity in a New Epoch, pp.57-69. Routledge.
2015c, Hornborg, A., Industrial Societies: Anthropological Aspects. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 11, pp.863-867. Elsevier.
2014a, Malm, A. & A. Hornborg, The geology of mankind? A critique of the Anthropocene narrative. The Anthropocene Review 1(1):62-69.
2014b, Hornborg, A., Technology as Fetish: Marx, Latour, and the Cultural Foundations of Capitalism. Theory, Culture, and Society 31(4):119-140.
2014c, Hornborg, A., Why Solar Panels Don’t Grow on Trees: Technological Utopianism and the Uneasy Relation between Marxism and Ecological Economics. J. Hedrén & K. Bradley, eds., Green Utopianism, pp.76-97. Routledge.
2014d, Hornborg, A., 1812, 1912, 2012 – Tre nedslag i industrisamhällets historia. M. Viktorin & C. Widmark, eds., Antropologi och tid, pp.219-233. Ymer 2013.
2014e, Hornborg, A., World-systems Analysis. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, pp.7910-7914. Springer.
2013, Hornborg, A., The Fossil Interlude: Euro-American Power and the Return of the Physiocrats. S. Strauss, S. Rupp & T. Love, eds., Cultures of Energy: Power, Practices, Technologies, pp.41-59. Left Coast Press.
2012, Hornborg, A., 1812, 1912, 2012 – Three Moments in the History of Industrialism. M. Nyström, ed., Glimpsing Paths: Being and Acting in Times of (Un)Certainty, pp.28-37. Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development.
2011a, Hornborg, A., Rethinking the Industrial Revolution and the Rise of the West: Historical Contingencies and the Global Prerequisites of Modern Technology. H. Ruin & A. Ers, eds., Rethinking Time: Essays on Historical Consciousness, Memory, and Representation, pp.267-275. Södertörn Philosophical Studies 10.
2011b, Hornborg, A., Global Environmental History. G. Modelski & R.A. Denemark, eds., World System History. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS).
2011c, Hornborg, A., Global Ecology and Unequal Exchange: Fetishism in a Zero-Sum World. Routledge.
2011d, A. Hornborg, Darwin, antropologi och kulturella selektionsprocesser. M. Hammarström, E. Gerle & P. Gärdenfors, red., Människan sedd: Olika vetenskapliga prismor, pp.101-111. Nya Doxa.
2011e, Hornborg, A., Interacting Landscapes: Toward a Truly Global Environmental History. S. Babones & C. Chase-Dunn, eds., Handbook of World-Systems Analysis, pp.443-444. Routledge.
2010a, Hornborg, A., Towards a Truly Global Environmental History: A Review Article. Review: Journal of the Fernand Braudel Centre 33(4):295-323.
2010b, Hornborg, A. Myten om maskinen: Essäer om makt, modernitet och miljö. Daidalos.

2016a, Hornborg, A., Global Magic: Technologies of Appropriation from Ancient Rome to Wall Street. Palgrave Macmillan.

2016b, Hornborg, A., Artifacts have consequences, not agency: Toward a critical theory of global environmental history. European Journal of Social Theory [published online].

forthcoming, Hornborg, A., The Ecology of Empire: From “Ecological Imperialism” to Imperialism as an Ecological Process. P. Bang & W. Scheidel, eds., The Oxford World History of Empire.

2015a, Hornborg, A., Nollsummespelet: Teknikfetischism och global miljörättvisa. Daidalos.

2015b, Hornborg, A., The political ecology of the Technocene: Uncovering ecologically unequal exchange in the world-system. C. Hamilton, C. Bonneuil & F. Gemenne, eds., The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis: Rethinking Modernity in a New Epoch, pp.57-69. Routledge.

2015c, Hornborg, A., Industrial Societies: Anthropological Aspects. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 11, pp.863-867. Elsevier.

2014a, Malm, A. & A. Hornborg, The geology of mankind? A critique of the Anthropocene narrative. The Anthropocene Review 1(1):62-69.

2014b, Hornborg, A., Technology as Fetish: Marx, Latour, and the Cultural Foundations of Capitalism. Theory, Culture, and Society 31(4):119-140.

2014c, Hornborg, A., Why Solar Panels Don’t Grow on Trees: Technological Utopianism and the Uneasy Relation between Marxism and Ecological Economics. J. Hedrén & K. Bradley, eds., Green Utopianism, pp.76-97. Routledge.

2014d, Hornborg, A., 1812, 1912, 2012 – Tre nedslag i industrisamhällets historia. M. Viktorin & C. Widmark, eds., Antropologi och tid, pp.219-233. Ymer 2013.2014e, Hornborg, A., World-systems Analysis. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, pp.7910-7914. Springer.

2013, Hornborg, A., The Fossil Interlude: Euro-American Power and the Return of the Physiocrats. S. Strauss, S. Rupp & T. Love, eds., Cultures of Energy: Power, Practices, Technologies, pp.41-59. Left Coast Press.

2012, Hornborg, A., 1812, 1912, 2012 – Three Moments in the History of Industrialism. M. Nyström, ed., Glimpsing Paths: Being and Acting in Times of (Un)Certainty, pp.28-37. Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development.

2011a, Hornborg, A., Rethinking the Industrial Revolution and the Rise of the West: Historical Contingencies and the Global Prerequisites of Modern Technology. H. Ruin & A. Ers, eds., Rethinking Time: Essays on Historical Consciousness, Memory, and Representation, pp.267-275. Södertörn Philosophical Studies 10.

2011b, Hornborg, A., Global Environmental History. G. Modelski & R.A. Denemark, eds., World System History. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS).

2011c, Hornborg, A., Global Ecology and Unequal Exchange: Fetishism in a Zero-Sum World. Routledge.

2011d, A. Hornborg, Darwin, antropologi och kulturella selektionsprocesser. M. Hammarström, E. Gerle & P. Gärdenfors, red., Människan sedd: Olika vetenskapliga prismor, pp.101-111. Nya Doxa.

2011e, Hornborg, A., Interacting Landscapes: Toward a Truly Global Environmental History. S. Babones & C. Chase-Dunn, eds., Handbook of World-Systems Analysis, pp.443-444. Routledge.

2010a, Hornborg, A., Towards a Truly Global Environmental History: A Review Article. Review: Journal of the Fernand Braudel Centre 33(4):295-323.

2010b, Hornborg, A. Myten om maskinen: Essäer om makt, modernitet och miljö. Daidalos.

 

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