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A Cosmopolitical Proposal: Towards a Democratic Composition of Environments
Unformatted Document Text:  37 The ability to determine, in conjunction with the input of the other skills, what entities are to be excluded and included from participation in the collective allows for a collective that is not all- encompassing nor universal, but has a distinctive character based on the decisions about whom and what to include in its composition. As part of this skill, compromise becomes central for the politician, as the conflicting and contradicting entities that appeal for entrance into the collective often do not easily fit together. While compromising among competing entities to determine who will be a provisional friend or ally and who an enemy or opponent, the politician must also attempt a “scenarization” of the collective, to represent it to itself. This is not an easy or once and-done-task, but is the “progressive composition” of the collective. “The collective, as we understand now, is not a thing in the world, a being with fixed and definitive borders, but a movement of establishing provisional cohesion that will have to be started all over again every single day.” 84 The politicians’ skill, nor those of the other ‘professions,’ does not stop or defer to other skills at any point in the composition of the collective. Were that to happen, “there is no longer anything but a point, a lie, a madman who says “we all” in the place of others,” bringing closure to the determination of the collective abruptly and in too much haste. Finally, the politician must work closely with the scientist in making decisions and making friends and enemies. In contrast to the prototypical relationship between existing scientists and politicians, where scientists provide the ‘raw data’ to politicians to develop policy that takes these into account, the practices of scientists are tied up together in the creation of the collective. In the existing understanding of environmental politics, “it was thought that political ecology had to bring humans and nature together, whereas it actually has to bring together the scientific and the political ways of intermingling humans and nonhumans.” 85 The skills of the politician and 84 Latour, 147. 85 Latour, 148.

Authors: Nordquist, Michael.
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37
The ability to determine, in conjunction with the input of the other skills, what entities are to be
excluded and included from participation in the collective allows for a collective that is not all-
encompassing nor universal, but has a distinctive character based on the decisions about whom
and what to include in its composition. As part of this skill, compromise becomes central for the
politician, as the conflicting and contradicting entities that appeal for entrance into the collective
often do not easily fit together. While compromising among competing entities to determine
who will be a provisional friend or ally and who an enemy or opponent, the politician must also
attempt a “scenarization” of the collective, to represent it to itself. This is not an easy or once
and-done-task, but is the “progressive composition” of the collective. “The collective, as we
understand now, is not a thing in the world, a being with fixed and definitive borders, but a
movement of establishing provisional cohesion that will have to be started all over again every
single day.”
The politicians’ skill, nor those of the other ‘professions,’ does not stop or defer to
other skills at any point in the composition of the collective. Were that to happen, “there is no
longer anything but a point, a lie, a madman who says “we all” in the place of others,” bringing
closure to the determination of the collective abruptly and in too much haste. Finally, the
politician must work closely with the scientist in making decisions and making friends and
enemies. In contrast to the prototypical relationship between existing scientists and politicians,
where scientists provide the ‘raw data’ to politicians to develop policy that takes these into
account, the practices of scientists are tied up together in the creation of the collective. In the
existing understanding of environmental politics, “it was thought that political ecology had to
bring humans and nature together, whereas it actually has to bring together the scientific and the
political ways of intermingling humans and nonhumans.”
The skills of the politician and
84
Latour, 147.
85
Latour, 148.


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