Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism And Libertarian Political Culture

Paperback | October 14, 2015

byMatthew Schneider-mayerson

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In recent years, the concept of “peak oil”—the moment when global oil production peaks and a train of economic, social, and political catastrophes accompany its subsequent decline—has captured the imagination of a surprisingly large number of Americans, ordinary citizens as well as scholars, and created a quiet, yet intense underground movement.

In Peak Oil, Matthew Schneider-Mayerson takes readers deep inside the world of “peakists,” showing how their hopes and fears about the postcarbon future led them to prepare for the social breakdown they foresee—all of which are fervently discussed and debated via websites, online forums, videos, and novels. By exploring the worldview of peakists, and the unexpected way that the fear of peak oil and climate change transformed many members of this left-leaning group into survivalists, Schneider-Mayerson builds a larger analysis of the rise of libertarianism, the role of oil in modern life, the political impact of digital technologies, the racial and gender dynamics of post-apocalyptic fantasies, and the social organization of environmental denial.

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In recent years, the concept of “peak oil”—the moment when global oil production peaks and a train of economic, social, and political catastrophes accompany its subsequent decline—has captured the imagination of a surprisingly large number of Americans, ordinary citizens as well as scholars, and created a quiet, yet intense underground...

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson is assistant professor of social sciences (environmental studies) at Yale-NUS College, Singapore.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:October 14, 2015Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022628543X

ISBN - 13:9780226285436

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“Engaging. . . . The strength of Peak Oil resides in its judicious, even-handed approach. Schneider-Mayerson neither idealizes nor vilifies his subjects. He commends them for their insights about petro-capitalist constraints, yet he does not hesitate to call out their limitations. . . . Schneider-Mayerson correctly points out that whatever their biases, peakists were attempting to do something extraordinarily difficult: imagine life aft er petroleum while living in a society fully saturated by it. And today the political fatalism of peakists is unnerving, he concludes, not because it is so rare but because it is so pervasive. The powerful message is that within late petro-capitalism, hope and imagination are in short—but desperately needed—supply.”