Turning the World Upside Down: The English Revolution as Inspiration for the Transition to a Sustainable Society
The Carnival Kingdom, New Visions of Justice for Global Communities (Chapter), Forthcoming
15 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2013
The English Civil War was a time of political and economic upheaval and a time of conflict about rights to land ownership and representation, made explicit in the Putney Debates held in 1647. In this paper I characterize this as a time of ‘carnival’ in the Bakhtinian sense and draw parallels with the present work of the Transition movement. I see links in four distinct areas: in the need to reclaim the land; in the quest to reclaim the power of the spiritual, however defined, as part of the realm of public discourse; in the demand that the circle of those considered worthy to exercise political power should be extended; and finally, and more tentatively, in the demand for an 'embedded epistemology', a way of making sense of the world that is inherently relational. In response to climate change we need to make rapid changes: I suggest that the liminal time of the Diggers and Levellers can help to inspire us in this necessary transition.
Keywords: Bakhtin, Transition Towns, climate change, land reform, English Civil War, Christopher Hill
JEL Classification: B12, O11, P41, Q24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation