Eco Media

Eco Media

Eco Media

Eco Media

Synopsis

"EcoMeida sets out to understand the ways ecological concerns are mediated through popular film and television. In case studies of Japanese animation, wildlife documentary, TV drama and Hollywood and art house cinema, Sean Cubitt traces the conflicted working of the popular imagination of global warming, eco-terrorism, bio-security, genetic modification, environmental ethics and our fraught relationships with animals. Drawing on the work of Habermas, Flusser, Luhmann and Latour among many others, Cubitt argues that, far from distorting the truth or closing down relationship between us and our environments, the technological media are integral to communication between humans and the green world."

Excerpt

Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation
for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its self-alienation has
reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction
as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. (Benjamin 1969: 242)

This book is about environmental themes in popular media since the 1980s. It wants to make a contribution to ecological politics by studying popular mediations of frequently voiced concerns over biosecurity, anthropomorphism, environmental ethics, over-exploitation of resources, ecoterrorism, genetic modification and global climate change. It scrutinises some films and television programmes in order to see what they are made of, how they handle their materials, and what they say. Green parties, scientists, corporations and public intellectuals have many professional institutions that speak about the relationship between humans and nature. But they rarely have reason to speak about, let alone on behalf of, the everyday appreciation of ecological themes. Film and television creatives, on the other hand, whether they work in the pubic service tradition or from commercial imperatives, have good reason to try to hear and respond to ordinary beliefs, anxieties and ethical dilemmas about life on earth. In the absence of citizens’ media, we have no better place to look than the popular media for representations of popular knowledge and the long-term concerns so little addressed in dominant political and economic discourse. In their own way as complex as the language of scientific papers or policy documents, popular media think aloud and in public about who we are, where we are going, and what debts we owe to the world we live in.

Like Pat Brereton, to whose Hollywood Utopias I am indebted, I am fascinated by the Utopian content of popular media. But I am also fascinated by what that utopianism can tell me about the weaknesses of ecological thought and >environmental politics. Though many films are predictably bound to the common ideologies of the day, including ideologies of nature, many are far richer in contradictions and more ethically, emotionally and intellectually satisfying than much of what passes for eco-politics today. Fine art and popular media alike can, at . . .

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