“Henri Lefebvre’s Conception of Nature-Society in the Revoltuonary Project of Autogeston” (coauthered with Brian M. Napoletano, Pedro Urquijo, and Brett Clark—Foster listed fourth), Dialogues in Human Geography (prepublished online March 29, 2022), 20 pp.
Henri Lefebvre’s intricate material-dialectical approach to the nature-society problematic, taken together with his advocacy of a praxis oriented to total transformation from the ground up through autogestion, offers a unified, critical, and dialectical approach to political ecology. Unfortunately, his work in these areas has too often been interpreted as divided and fragmentary, splitting his radical analysis of the production of space-time from his critical praxis related to autogestion. We offer a corrective to this by elaborating briefly on his use of Marx’s material-dialectical approach, outlining how Lefebvre brings this method to bear on the nature-society problematic, and how his theorization of autogestion points to a radical praxis aimed at overcoming the social-ecological contradictions of capital. His engagement with Marx’s theory of metabolic rift, and his advocacy of a radical project of autogestion as part of the critique of everyday life, serve to place the underlying issue of alienation in spatial terms, offering geography a transformative perspective that avoids positing closed systems and attempting to exhaust the various meanings assigned to nature. In this, Lefebvre demonstrates how the nature-society problematic overflows issues of ontological framing and language, calling for a unity of radical theory and practice to overcome the separations.