Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 14, 2015 - Social Science - 280 pages
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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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Contents

Oil and AntiPolitics
1
1 The Peak Oil Ideology and Subculture
17
2 Abundance Scarcity and Limits in the Age of Oil
47
The Libertarian Shift and the Network Effect
77
4 Apocalyptic Popular Culture and Political Quiescence
103
5 White Masculinity and PostApocalyptic Retrosexuality
129
Climate Change and the Big Picture
150
Survey Data
165
Questionnaire July 2013
171
Notes
173
Bibliography
227
Index
259
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About the author (2015)

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson is assistant professor of social sciences (environmental studies) at Yale-NUS College, Singapore.

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