After Progress

The Sociological Review


The notion of "progress" is arguably the defining idea of modernity: a civilisational imagery of a boundless, linear, and upwards trajectory towards a future that, guided by reason and technology, will be "better" than the present. It was this notion that placed techno-science at the heart of modern political culture, it was in its name that modernity ploughed the earth, and it was the uneven geography of "progress" that imagined European imperialism as a civilising mission inflicted upon "backward" others for their own sake. In the wake its devastating social, political and ecological histories, this bold and innovative collection argues that the imperative of progress is now one we cannot live with but do not know how to live without. What might it take to learn to think and live after progress? Thinking of progress not as one modern value among others but as the very mode of evaluation from which modern values are derived, this book delivers a range of essays and experiments in the radical revaluation of our values. By exploring the complex connections between progress and knowledge, ecology, politics, science, culture, and justice, this original book offers critical and speculative perspectives on the making of social life after progress.

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