Articulating Resistance: Agonism, Radical Democracy and Climate Change Activism
This article analyses climate change activism through the framework of agonism. It discusses dominant political theories of climate change and then contrasts those with agonism. Next, it proceeds to analyse the logic of resistance in climate change activism, focusing on the 2017 People’s Climate March (PCM17) to understand how it articulated both its conceptions of the political and of climate change. This article argues that, in articulating its logic of resistance, the PCM17 served to depoliticise climate change by embracing a consensus-based conception of the political and a singular conception of climate change. The PCM17’s claim of resistance therefore constrained dissent and was ultimately counterproductive to a vibrant politics of climate change. Rather than understanding climate change as singular, I argue that reconsidering climate change as multiple – that is, as an unstable, contested representation of multiple political ecologies – provides the political space necessary to accommodate dissent in debate about climate change without abdicating the responsibility to acknowledge its existence as a political problem. An agonistic framework of climate change politics severs the tie between the political and consensus, allowing a radical democratic politics of climate change to adopt a robust logic of resistance in climate change activism.
Kakenmaster W. Articulating Resistance: Agonism, Radical Democracy and Climate Change Activism. Millennium. 2019;47(3):373-397. doi:10.1177/0305829819839862