Against hybridism: Why we need to distinguish between society and nature, now more than ever

Andreas Malm
  Andreas.Malm@hek.lu.se
  

Abstract

Hybrids of the natural and the social have proliferated to such an extent that the two can no longer be told apart. This is the cardinal thesis of hybridism, a current of thought immensely influential in political ecology and social theory. Global warming often serves as a case in point: with the heating up of the planet, all distinctions between the social and the natural breaks down. Tracing the development of hybridism from Bruno Latur to its recent Marxist iterations – notably in the work of Jason W. Moore – this paper will argue the exact contrary: climate change and similar problems make it more imperative than ever to distinguish between society and nature. Hybridism is a form of analytical collapse that cannot be conducive to militant ecological action. An ecological Marxism aspiring to be part of actual movements on the ground should reject hybridism and reinvigorate a dialectical sensitivity to how the social and the natural are combined yet analytically distinct.

Environmental Crisis