Biopolitical rationalities, climate change and the Australian transition town movement

Stream: Panel 50 - Environmental Politics: Resistance, Activism and Resilience 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


Social movements, like the transition town movement are aiming to address climate change, build community resilience and promote frugality in every day living to protect urban and rural communities from insecurities arising from climate change and climate disasters. The future is understood as contingent on changes in the lifestyles of many citizens that recognise the urgency to reduce carbon emissions to maintain global temperatures within ranges that support life on planet earth. By focusing on community resilience and the modification of social processes and by promoting collective responsibility for the necessary changes to deal with uncertainty and future insecurity by building trust and self-efficacy at the local level, is this movement challenging the existing socio-ecological order? Is there a possibility that this movement may be part of the processes that depoliticize resilience and through promoting security and well-being of the individual and their collective local life open the affective relations between people and their environments to a wider range governmental intervention? This paper aims to use a biopolitical lens to explore these aspects of the Transition Town Movement in Australia.


Uschi Bay (Presenter), Monash University
Dr. Uschi Bay is a Senior Lecturer at Monash University in the Department of Social Work. Uschi is a passionate academic with twenty years experience in teaching across a wide range of subjects in the social sciences and social work. She is a researcher with the Gender Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) research unit focusing on social movements and climate change, specifically the Australian Transition Town Movement. Her recent publication Social Work practice: a conceptual framework (2014) proposes a post-structural lens on reflexivity and explores new ways of engaging with political storytelling.