Browsing by Author "Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew"
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ItemDisaster Movies and the ‘Peak Oil’ Movement: Does Popular Culture Encourage Eco-Apocalyptic Beliefs in the United States?(2013-09-30) Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew; EquinoxUsing two large-scale surveys, I argue that the prevalence of apocalyptic popular culture influences apocalyptic beliefs in the United States. I focus especially on Hollywood disaster movies of the 1990s and 2000s, most of which deal with environmental themes, and participants in the ‘peak oil’ movement, a quasi-religious American apocalyptic social movement organized around a vision of energy depletion and social collapse. In these surveys, ‘peakists’ reflect on their relationship with fictional narratives of disaster and destruction. I contend that disaster films influenced major aspects of the ‘peak oil’ ideology, such as the hope for regeneration (or even a better world) as a result of environmental crisis and social collapse; the tendency towards fatalism; and the imagination of social and environmental change as immediate and explosive instead of gradual. This cultural influence is situated in the context of contemporary responses to other environmental issues, such as climate change. ItemEp. #077 - Matthew Schneider-Mayerson(Cultures of Energy, Rice University, 2017-06-22) Boyer, Dominic (podcast host); Howe, Cymene (podcast host); Schneider-Mayerson, MatthewDominic and Cymene expose the truth behind a rabid raccoon attack and then (16:46) former CENHS star Matthew Schneider-Mayerson (now Yale-NUS) joins the podcast to talk about his book Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture (U Chicago Press, 2015). Matthew reminds us how much the threat of “peak oil” and energy depletion was a topic of public concern and commentary in the late 2000s and explains how he came to study the community of hardcore “peakists.” We talk about the racial and gender dynamics of the movement and whether they echo the anxieties of white masculinity on display in recent right wing populism. Matthew explains how he came to view peakism as a distinctively neoliberal social movement, what the emotional and spiritual landscape of the movement looked like, the difficulty of imagining a positive life after oil, and whether peakism foreshadowed contemporary reckonings with the Anthropocene. Matthew then tells us about his work to help establish the Fossilized Houston art collective (www.fossilizedhouston.com) and a new project, Loan Words to Live By, which will curate a set of ecologically significant terms that don’t exist in English but should. Finally we turn to Matthew’s current research and reflections on Singapore including eco-authoritarianism, sea-level rise, floating buildings, and the paradox of Singapore as a massively carbon intensive "garden city." ItemFrom politics to prophecy: environmental quiescence and the ‘peak-oil’ movement(2013-09-30) Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew; Taylor and FrancisAdherents of the ‘peak-oil’ theory believe that resource depletion will cause an imminent social collapse that will lead to a simpler and more environmentally balanced world. Although American ‘peakists’ are extremely concerned with environmental issues, their awareness of the scale of ecological crises (such as climate change), gloomy evaluation of the state of American environmental politics, and vision of a post-apocalyptic future lead them to retreat from politics. Their beliefs, inaction, and impact on American environmental politics are explored. ItemParadoxical Infrastructures: Ruins, Retrofit, and Risk(Sage, 2015) Howe, Cymene; Lockrem, Jessica; Appel, Hannah; Hackett, Edward; Boyer, Dominic; Hall, Randal; Schneider-Mayerson, Matthew; Pope, Albert; Gupta, Akhil; Rodwell, Elizabeth; Ballestero, Andrea; Durbin, Trevor; el-Dahdah, Farès; Long, Elizabeth; Mody, Cyrus C.M.; Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human SciencesIn recent years, a dramatic increase in the study of infrastructure has occurred in the social sciences and humanities, following upon foundational work in the physical sciences, architecture, planning, information science, and engineering. This article, authored by a multidisciplinary group of scholars, probes the generative potential of infrastructure at this historical juncture. Accounting for the conceptual and material capacities of infrastructure, the article argues for the importance of paradox in understanding infrastructure. Thematically the article is organized around three key points that speak to the study of infrastructure: ruin, retrofit, and risk. The first paradox of infrastructure, ruin, suggests that even as infrastructure is generative, it degenerates. A second paradox is found in retrofit, an apparent ontological oxymoron that attempts to bridge temporality from the present to the future and yet ultimately reveals that infrastructural solidity, in material and symbolic terms, is more apparent than actual. Finally, a third paradox of infrastructure, risk, demonstrates that while a key purpose of infrastructure is to mitigate risk, it also involves new risks as it comes to fruition. The article concludes with a series of suggestions and provocations to view the study of infrastructure in more contingent and paradoxical forms.