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Chapter

Cover The Politics of the Earth

12. Encountering the Anthropocene  

This chapter examines environmental discourses in light of recognition of humanity’s entry into the Anthropocene, an emerging geological epoch that dramatizes what is at stake in the politics of the Earth. The Anthropocene is the successor to the unusually benign and stable Holocene of the previous 12,000 years, during which human civilization evolved. The human institutions, practices, ideas, and discourses that still dominate the politics of the Earth all took shape under perceived Holocene conditions. The most important quality demanded of the configuration of environmental discourses is now a capacity to generate critical reflection on the trajectory of human societies in the context of an unstable Earth system. This will require meaningful deliberative and democratic engagement across discourses.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

19. Engineering for Development  

Peter Robbins, David Wield, and Gordon Wilson

This chapter focuses on the concept of engineering for development (E4D), which falls within the idea of development as deliberate intervention. Some such interventions may contain large-scale infrastructure engineering to meet human needs and/or facilitate economic development, while others are at small scale to meet primarily everyday human needs. Public finance and/or aid usually plays a large part in these interventions, although implementation is likely to include NGOs or the private sector. By following and analysing what engineers do, it becomes clear how E4D is socially produced beyond its strictly technical dimensions. Case studies of E4D suggest that the key concepts for analysing its social production are: ecological modernization, networks, bricolage, and reflexivity. Key issues for infrastructure development are access and effective coordination of implementation networks through cooperative partnerships and/or contracts.