This book analyses the threat posed by the continued use of fossil fuels. By utilizing Elizabeth Shove’s social practices approach and Murphy’s own social closure framework, the book examines the accelerating treadmill of carbon-polluting practices. It incorporates externalities theory to investigate how the full cost of fossil fuels is paid by others rather than users, and to demonstrate that the environmental commons is a medium for conveying intergenerational monopolisation and exclusion in the Anthropocene. Murphy uncovers a pattern of opposition to change when exploiting valuable but dangerous resources. He argues that a new faith in mastering nature is emerging as a belief in just-in-time technological solutions to circumvent having to change fossil-fuelled practices.
The book then moves on to assess proposed solutions, including Beck’s staging of risk and his hypothesis that the anticipation of global catastrophe will incite emancipation. It proposes a novel approach to enhancing foresight and avoid incubating disaster. It will appeal to readers interested in an original social science analysis of this creeping crisis and its resolution.
Raymond Murphy is emeritus professor and former chair in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Ottawa. He has published internationally in the areas of environmental sociology, sociology of disasters, Weberian social theory, and sociology of education. He served as President of the Research Committee on Environment and Society of the International Sociological Association from 2006-2010.