Concept of William Connolly’s –


A second limit was in our definition of the environment. We treated it as something capitalism acts upon in ways that damage it. But we insufficiently appreciated how nonhuman forces such as climate processes, bacterial flows, species evolution, ocean currents, watershed self-filtration processes and the like themselves express variable degrees of self-organizational capacity. We joined innumerable others on the Left, Center and Right in tending toward, what I today call, sociocentrism. Sociocentrism plays up the causal primacy of social processes, while its proponents debate which ones are dominant. Its proponents tend implicitly to treat “nature” either as a set of processes that move on long-slow time, or as a context that human exceptionalism allows us to ignore, or as a deposit of resources for human use, or as governed by divine providence, or as benign, stable forces to which we could be attuned if we only lightened our footprint. Arendtians, for instance, have generally depreciated bodies and nonhuman processes and dialectical materialists have tended to think of the structures and crises of capitalism as internally generated.
(Connolly and Macdonald, 2015: 264)


A critique of sociocentrism, of course, does not entail the denial of human agency or even refusal to draw this or that insight from its most noble carriers in the past. I teach several of those thinkers. Rather, it points to the fact that sociocentrism is insufficient to the world, that previous understandings and ideals need to be reworked, that spiritual attachments to a larger world must be amplified as we broaden our sense of entanglements, that new militant assemblages must be constructed, and that new strategies must be devised which draw selective inspiration from innovative actions in the past.
(Connolly and Macdonald, 2015: 269)

Connolly, W.   and Macdonald, B. 2015. Confronting the Anthropocene and Contesting Neoliberalism: An Interview with William E. Connolly. New Political Science, 37:2, 259-275,

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