You Can’t Handicraft the Apocalypse: The Invidious Consequences of “Opting Out“

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

For subjects of neoliberal authoritarianism, the precariousness of everyday life is amplified in the face of catastrophic climate change. Rather than build networks of solidarity to shape a new world, authoritarian neoliberalism encourages antisocial individualistic schemes to weather the storm by valorizing individuals who can prepare themselves for the worst. This essay extends Thorstein Veblen’s critique of the Handicraft Movement of the early twentieth century to explain the appeal of prepping, as well as its inadequacy in the face of catastrophe. Veblen shows how the Handicraft Movement was merely another way to conspicuously consume. This essay echoes that critique and recasts prepping as handicrafting the apocalypse, conspicuously consuming even at the end of the world. It shows the inadequacy in the face of an existential threat and concludes with a dialogue between Veblen and Bogdanov to theorize consciously directing industrial production toward democratic ends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNew Political Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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precariousness
industrial production
authoritarianism
neoliberalism
solidarity
everyday life
appeal
twentieth century
climate change
dialogue
threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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abstract = "For subjects of neoliberal authoritarianism, the precariousness of everyday life is amplified in the face of catastrophic climate change. Rather than build networks of solidarity to shape a new world, authoritarian neoliberalism encourages antisocial individualistic schemes to weather the storm by valorizing individuals who can prepare themselves for the worst. This essay extends Thorstein Veblen’s critique of the Handicraft Movement of the early twentieth century to explain the appeal of prepping, as well as its inadequacy in the face of catastrophe. Veblen shows how the Handicraft Movement was merely another way to conspicuously consume. This essay echoes that critique and recasts prepping as handicrafting the apocalypse, conspicuously consuming even at the end of the world. It shows the inadequacy in the face of an existential threat and concludes with a dialogue between Veblen and Bogdanov to theorize consciously directing industrial production toward democratic ends.",
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