November 17, 2015

Ecological Justice, Fear, and Art

Afshin Akhtar-Khavari, Griffith University Law School, has published Fear and Ecological (In)Justice in Edvard Munch's the Scream of Nature at 2 NAVEIÑ REET: Nordic Journal of Law and Social Research 130 (2015)(Special Issue on Law and Art).

We are accustomed to thinking about fear simply in terms of immediate or significant sensorial experiences – like coming face to face with a snake – but this has simply dulled our capacity to appreciate nuanced cognitive and temporal dimensions of emotional experiences of fear. In the Anthropocene epoch, the collective impact of our experiences and their impact on the ecology of planet Earth are important. However, instead of addressing the emotional reactions to being materially embedded, we often separate ourselves from this situation – both cognitively and emotionally. This article argues that our capacity to appreciate the kind of ecological justice that is needed in the Anthropocene epoch requires us to pay closer attention to our emotional experiences – particularly fear. In this context, Munch’s painting provides intrinsic symbolic support for and expression of the potential of fear to expose the reality of the impact of ecological injustice on human beings. 

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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