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A conversation with Timothy Mitchell on the intricate relationship between energy and politics

In the second episode Carbon Critique podcast series, we talked to Timothy Mitchell, a political science Professor at the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University, about his book Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil, which came out over 10 years ago. It traces a revisionist history of 20th century by centering the analysis on the material basis of political power. He focuses on how political systems and political action are constrained and determined by the carbon energy that emerged since the 19th century, first with coal and then as it transitioned to oil. By emphasizing how carbon’s “socio-technical worlds” manifest themselves, Mitchell sheds light on where actual sites of power lie and what “political agency” is possible. This, in turn, helps us think on historically grounded modes of energy transition, resistance against the ubiquitous carbon rationality, and ways to re-imagine a post-carbon society.

You can find the English transcription of the interview here and the German translation here.

You can listen to the second episode on Spotify, SoundClound and Apple Podcast.