The Trouble with Saving the Future: A Trans Critique of Sustainability
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This thesis critiques and deconstructs the Western concept of sustainability from a trans perspective. By deploying a hauntological approach, this project aims to make visible who is included in and excluded from the current Western project of making the world sustainable, that is preventing further global warming and mass extinction. The first chapter argues that sustainability can be understood as relying predominantly on the three Western concepts of nature, culture and temporality which themselves contain histories of violence and exclusion. By deconstructing intersecting projects of these three concepts like the Anthropocene, the nature-culture dichotomy, and linear temporality the chapter argues that sustainability predominantly conserves and maintains the dominance of the current power structures. Thus the chapter argues that sustainability disguises a political project which appears to altruistically save humanity and the whole planet. A critique which becomes more pointed in the second chapter which close-reads the racism inscribed into sustainability. Therefore this chapter scrutinises how Western narratives on the origin of the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic deploy the term sustainability in order to legitimise Western dominance. The third and last chapter of this thesis illustrates how transness diffracts sustainability and its three foundational concepts temporality, nature and culture. However, a trans perspective does not only offer critique on the exclusion of transness from sustainability but its diffracting character enables a different way to face global warming. This alternative draws from an embodied trans perspective in order to un-layer and re-layer meaning and matter and through this moves away from the humanist Western claims for dominance embedded into sustainability.