Definitions of Politics

Susskind, Jamie. Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Possible attitudes, anybody is free to claim what politics is

  • politics is government: "the process by which lawmakers decide on society’s collective goals and devise laws and policies through which they can be realized. On this view, politics is something that takes place in parliaments, government buildings, and town halls, under the control of politicians and civil servants. The average citizen may participate in politics (so understood) to a greater or lesser extent, through voting or activism, depending on both the nature of the state and that citizen’s own inclinations."

  • politics is everywhere, in public and private realms (but human only, typically): "between friends and colleagues, and within families; in clubs, teams, and religious establishments; in government but also in art, architecture, science, literature, and embedded in language itself. Politics is present wherever there is cooperation, conflict, or control; or wherever it is possible that some particular social relation might be ordered differently, from workplace politics to sexual politics. On this view, politics isn’t something you can avoid or ignore."

In the introduction to Dissensus

  • politics and aesthetics are about going beyond the obvious: "What is politics? What is art? And how are we to conceive of their intimate and attested interrelation? There are at least two ways of approaching these questions. First, art and politics, qua singular domains of human thought and activity, can be taken as two separate realities, each with its own principle of realization. Politics is so construed, for example, whenever it is defined as a specific form of the exercise of power and its mode of legitimation; so, too, is art, when defined, in modernist or postmodernist terms, on the basis of the ways in which aesthetic specificity has been gradually won by a liberation from the imperatives of mimetic logic.1 From this perspective, the question then arises as to whether these two separate realities can be placed in relation to one another and, if so, under what conditions it ought to happen. Conversely, however, art and politics can be understood, such that their specificity is seen to reside in their contingent suspension of the rules governing normal experience. On this view, their emergence is in no way a necessary outcome of a property that is supposedly inherent to the life of individuals or communities. It depends on an innovative leap from the logic that ordinarily governs human situations. In characterizing politics and aesthetics as forms of dissensus, Rancière seeks to defend a version of this latter alternative."

Rancière, Jacques. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics. Translated by Steve Corcoran. London: Continuum, 2010.


Rose, Nikolas. ‘The Politics of Life Itself’. Theory, Culture & Society 18, no. 6 (2001): 1–30. https://doi.org/10/fjpcbt.

Politics of the Environment

Carter, Neil. The Politics of the Environment: Ideas, Activism, Policy. 3rd ed. 2001. Reprint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Dobson, Andrew. Green Political Thought. 4th ed. 1990. Reprint, London: Routledge, 2007.

A general review, includes a chapter on 'ecologism':

Vincent, Andrew. Modern Political Ideologies. 3rd ed. 1992. Reprint, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

Useful review of practice in comparison with 'ideal types'. Helpful in understanding and citing the existing context.

Hultgren, John. “21st Century American Environmental Ideologies: A Re-Evaluation.” Journal of Political Ideologies 23, no. 1 (2018): 54–79. https://doi.org/10/ggvp8h.

Nonhuman Politics

"the authors digress from some of the central concerns of the more-than-human politics literature, which tends to be focused on the agentive nature or liveliness of nonhuman entities in the making of the world’s heterogeneous assemblages of life. Understanding the human as constituted in relation to other beings and things, forces a reconsideration of the boundaries and binaries of the “environment” and “society."

Ogden, Laura A., and Grant M. Gutierrez. “More-Than-Human Politics.” In The Routledge Handbook of Latin American Development, edited by Julie Cupples, Marcela Palomino-Schalscha, and Manuel Prieto, 205–12. Routledge, 2018.

Donoso, Alfonso. “New Politics: Sovereignty, Representation, and the Nonhuman.” In Global Changes: Ethics, Politics and Environment in the Contemporary Technological World, edited by Luca Valera and Juan Carlos Castilla, 45–55. Cham: Springer, 2020.

An example of wildlife reintroduction and the consequent political argument

Crowley, Sarah L., Steve Hinchliffe, and Robbie A. McDonald. “Nonhuman Citizens on Trial: The Ecological Politics of a Beaver Reintroduction.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 49, no. 8 (2017): 1846–66. https://doi.org/10/gbqg7c.

Some argue that bodily behaviour and resistance by animals already amounts to a revolution:

Broglio, Ron. Animal Revolution. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2022.


The idea of public as an ability to affect and be affected. Cf. political influence of animals.

Anderson, Virginia DeJohn. Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

On animals and British imperial control, see:

Burton, Antoinette M., and Renisa Mawani, eds. Animalia: An Anti-Imperial Bestiary for Our Times. Durham: Duke University Press, 2020.

For example, see the chapter on mosquitos by Neel Ahuja. Also in the introduction a brief reflection on agency.

Other work by Neel Ahuja on bioinsecurities book; also about disease, interventions and government of species as pivotal to empire; https://www.dukeupress.edu/bioinsecurities

Maybe a bit more to the fringes of the topic, but important for theorizing animal agency.

Ahuja, Neel. Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Colling, Sarat. Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2021.

Also the work by Eva Meijer on the political language of animals

Meijer, Eva. When Animals Speak: Toward an Interspecies Democracy. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

Maybe this book on Indigenous relations to nature in relation to other theoretical / onto-epistemological approaches to nature also relevant

Roothaan, Angela. Indigenous, Modern and Postcolonial Relations to Nature: Negotiating the Environment. London: Routledge, 2020.

Plessis, Gitte du. ‘When Pathogens Determine the Territory: Toward a Concept of Non-Human Borders’. European Journal of International Relations 24, no. 2 (2018): 391–413. https://doi.org/10/gdkqs9.

On earth-beings:

Cadena, Marisol de la. ‘Runa: Human but Not Only’. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4, no. 2 (September 2014): 253–59. https://doi.org/10/ggf74x.

Zúñiga, Didier. Pluralist Politics, Relational Worlds: Vulnerability and Care of the Earth. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2023.

  1. Ecological Democracy
  2. Representation