An earthquake-damaged building is demolished by controlled explosions, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2012. Credit: Martin Hunter/Getty Images.
In recent years, an eclectic group of thinkers, scientists and artists—known, collectively, as the “collapsologues”—have risen to the forefront of the French debate on the environmental crisis. Prophets of collapse, peddlers of an inverted philosophy of historical progress, the collapsologues can in part be dismissed as yet another resurgance of modern eschatological thinking. But they reflect an exhaustion of inherited ideas that forces us to question our assumptions on the necessary trajectory of historical and social development. What is really driving the dissemination of the collapsologue imaginary? What does their broad appeal suggest about the mutations of our societies in a world of economic, environmental, and public health shocks?
Harrison Stetler is a freelance journalist based in Paris. He graduated from Columbia University in 2016 with a B.A. in History. He now studies political theory at the EHESS.