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(2016) Changing our environment, changing ourselves, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Defragmenting nature

themes in Peter Dickens's work

James S. Ormrod

pp. 37-78

In this chapter, I outline what I see as the key themes infusing Peter Dickens's work. This work has spanned a huge range of topics, including housing, nationalism, the city, social class, evolutionary thought, the environment, and outer space. But across this work, I believe there are five recurring themes: (1) the effects of the mental/manual division of labour on internal and external nature, (2) the alienation of humans from nature, (3) the third contradiction of capitalism (between capital and internal nature), (4) the relationship between unconscious mechanisms and social and spatial divisions, and (5) the significance of production, consumption, and identity in "escape attempts' and pre-figurative utopias. These themes emerge during the course of his oeuvre, and are still being reformulated as Dickens continues to write, but I believe that tracing their emergence and translation from one context to another tells us a great deal about their value. Before discussing these five themes, however, it is necessary to say something about their philosophical grounding in Dickens's engagement with critical realism.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-56991-2_3

Full citation:

Ormrod, J. S. (2016)., Defragmenting nature: themes in Peter Dickens's work, in J. S. Ormrod (ed.), Changing our environment, changing ourselves, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 37-78.

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