Articulated Knowledges: Environmental Forms after Universality's Demise

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Abstract

Critiques of universalism require rethinking when confronted with environmental political arenas, in which the very concepts of “universality” and “particularity” are in a constant process of self-conscious deployment. In this article, I attend to the analytic and political implications of such deployments in a recent incinerator controversy in Hong Kong. I suggest that an aesthetic of local appropriateness and its formal requirement of simultaneous universal and particular truth value normalize the politics of environmental expertise such that the only legible form for counterknowledge is one of articulated knowledges. To understand how the knowledges emergent in an NGO–village collaboration were scaled, linked, and mobilized, I analyze a translation of expert knowledge and the event's metapragmatic effects. A subsequent account of unarticulated knowledges emphasizes the political-economic conditions that limit whose knowledges can count as particular in articulations of counterexpertise.

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