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Being Earthbound: Arendt, Process, and Alienation in the Anthropocene

Belcher, Oliver; Schmidt, Jeremy J.

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Hannah Arendt developed a twofold account of ‘being earthbound’ directly relevant to Anthropocene debates regarding the political. For Arendt, both senses of ‘being earthbound’ arose as humans began to act into nature, not merely upon it. The first sense is oriented to a political ontology of process, which arose as human actions – political, technological, scientific – nullified modernist conceits separating humans from nature. The second sense is one of earth alienation, which is referenced specifically to a scientific praxis coincident with advances in science and technology that alienates common sense experiences in politics. Though not unqualified, these two senses of being earthbound anchor our argument that Arendt offered prescient resources for understanding the political in the Anthropocene at the intersection of science, capital and world. The article ends by contrasting Arendt’s account of being earthbound with Bruno Latour’s recent interventions on the politics of Gaia.


Belcher, O., & Schmidt, J. J. (2020). Being Earthbound: Arendt, Process, and Alienation in the Anthropocene. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 39(1), 103-120.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 2, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2020
Publicly Available Date Sep 2, 2020
Journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Print ISSN 0263-7758
Electronic ISSN 1472-3433
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 1
Pages 103-120


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (306 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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