Michael Maniates

Michael Maniates is Professor of Political Science and Environmental Science at Allegheny College. He is the coeditor, with Thomas Princen and Ken Conca, of Confronting Consumption (MIT Press, 2002).

  • The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice

    The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice

    Michael Maniates and John M. Meyer

    An argument that the idea of sacrifice, with all its political baggage, opens new paths to environmental sustainability.

    The idea of sacrifice is the unspoken issue of environmental politics. Politicians, the media, and many environmentalists assume that well-off populations won't make sacrifices now for future environmental benefits and won't change their patterns and perceptions of consumption to make ecological room for the world's three billion or so poor eager to improve their standard of living. The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice challenges these assumptions, arguing that they limit our policy options, weaken our ability to imagine bold action for change, and blind us to the ways sacrifice already figures in everyday life. The concept of sacrifice has been curiously unexamined in both activist and academic conversations about environmental politics, and this book is the first to confront it directly. The chapters bring a variety of disciplinary perspectives to the topic. Contributors offer alternatives to the conventional wisdom on sacrifice; identify connections between sacrifice and human fulfillment in everyday life, finding such concrete examples as parents' sacrifices in raising children, religious practice, artists' pursuit of their art, and soldiers and policemen who risk their lives to do their jobs; and examine particular policies and practices that shape our understanding of environmental problems, including the carbon tax, incentives for cyclists, and the perils of green consumption. The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice puts “sacrifice” firmly into the conversation about effective environmental politics and policies, insisting that activists and scholars do more than change the subject when the idea is introduced.

    Contributors Peter Cannavò, Shane Gunster, Cheryl Hall, Karen Litfin, Michael Maniates, John M. Meyer, Simon Nicholson, Anna Peterson, Thomas Princen, Sudhir Chella Rajan, Paul Wapner, Justin Williams

    • Hardcover $11.75 £9.99
    • Paperback $6.75 £5.99
  • Confronting Consumption

    Confronting Consumption

    Thomas Princen, Michael Maniates, and Ken Conca

    Comforting terms such as "sustainable development" and "green production" frame environmental debate by stressing technology (not green enough), economic growth (not enough in the right places), and population (too large). Concern about consumption emerges, if at all, in benign ways; as calls for green purchasing or more recycling, or for small changes in production processes. Many academics, policymakers, and journalists, in fact, accept the economists' view of consumption as nothing less than the purpose of the economy. Yet many people have a troubled, intuitive understanding that tinkering at the margins of production and purchasing will not put society on an ecologically and socially sustainable path.

    Confronting Consumption places consumption at the center of debate by conceptualizing "the consumption problem" and documenting diverse efforts to confront it. In Part 1, the book frames consumption as a problem of political and ecological economy, emphasizing core concepts of individualization and commoditization. Part 2 develops the idea of distancing and examines transnational chains of consumption in the context of economic globalization. Part 3 describes citizen action through local currencies, home power, voluntary simplicity, "ad-busting," and product certification. Together, the chapters propose "cautious consuming" and "better producing" as an activist and policy response to environmental problems. The book concludes that confronting consumption must become a driving focus of contemporary environmental scholarship and activism.

    • Hardcover $80.00 £55.95
    • Paperback $19.75 £14.99

Contributor

  • New Earth Politics

    New Earth Politics

    Essays from the Anthropocene

    Simon Nicholson and Sikina Jinnah

    Prominent scholars and practitioners consider the role of global environmental politics in the face of increasing environmental stress.

    Humanity's collective impact on the Earth is vast. The rate and scale of human-driven environmental destruction is quickly outstripping our political and social capacities for managing it. We are in effect creating an Earth 2.0 on which the human signature is everywhere, a “new earth” in desperate need of humane and insightful guidance. In this volume, prominent scholars and practitioners in the field of global environmental politics consider the ecological and political realities of life on the new earth, and probe the field's deepest and most enduring questions at a time of increasing environmental stress. Arranged in complementary pairs, the essays in this volume include reflections on environmental pedagogy, analysis of new geopolitical realities, reflections on the power of social movements and international institutions, and calls for more compelling narratives to promote environmental action.

    At the heart of the volume is sustained attention to the role of traditional scholarly activities in a world confronting environmental disaster. Some contributors make the case that it is the scholar's role to provide activists with the necessary knowledge and tools; others argue for more direct engagement and political action. All the contributors confront the overriding question: What is the best use of their individual and combined energies, given the dire environmental reality?

    Contributors Erik Assadourian, Frank Biermann, Wil Burns, Ken Conca, Peter Dauvergne, Daniel Deudney, Navroz Dubash, Richard Falk, Joyeeta Gupta, Maria Ivanova, Peter Jacques, Sikina Jinnah, Karen T. Litfin, Michael F. Maniates, Elizabeth Mendenhall, Simon Nicholson, Kate O'Neill, Judith Shapiro, Paul Wapner, Oran R. Young

    • Hardcover $19.75 £14.99
    • Paperback $35.00 £27.00