Insect affects

the big and small of the entomological imagination in childhood

Stephen Loo, Undine Sellbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Drawing on a scene in J.M.G. Le Clézio's novel Terra Amata, which tells the story of the instincts of a small boy, the minute sensoria of some bugs and a cosmic catastrophe, this essay demonstrates the ambivalence around insects in animal studies, their contingent location in psychoanalysis and the conundrums they place in ethical philosophy. By reading Le Clézio's tale through Uexküll, Freud, Dodds and Stengers we argue for more nuanced, imbricated and critical connections between ethology, psychoanalysis and ethics. These connections become imperatives in the face of the current environmental crisis, where we urgently need to attend to co-affecting relations that are too distant or proximate, tiny or vast to register as familiar sentient states or ethical feelings. In the process we demonstrate the performative dimensions of what we call the entomological imagination – present in the strange proximity of child and bugs, the powerful unthinking god, the indifference of the insects to human commands, and the infinitesimal catastrophe in Le Clézio's story – that facilitates an epistemic fluidity required for a contemporary understanding of ecologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalAngelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2015

Fingerprint

psychoanalytic theory
childhood
behavioral research
instinct
ambivalence
god
ecology
animal
moral philosophy
present
imagination
Childhood
Insect
Psychoanalysis
Theodore Roszak
Catastrophe
philosophy

Cite this

@article{1b2968b0318940aaa344371a84cf24bb,
title = "Insect affects: the big and small of the entomological imagination in childhood",
abstract = "Drawing on a scene in J.M.G. Le Cl{\'e}zio's novel Terra Amata, which tells the story of the instincts of a small boy, the minute sensoria of some bugs and a cosmic catastrophe, this essay demonstrates the ambivalence around insects in animal studies, their contingent location in psychoanalysis and the conundrums they place in ethical philosophy. By reading Le Cl{\'e}zio's tale through Uexk{\"u}ll, Freud, Dodds and Stengers we argue for more nuanced, imbricated and critical connections between ethology, psychoanalysis and ethics. These connections become imperatives in the face of the current environmental crisis, where we urgently need to attend to co-affecting relations that are too distant or proximate, tiny or vast to register as familiar sentient states or ethical feelings. In the process we demonstrate the performative dimensions of what we call the entomological imagination – present in the strange proximity of child and bugs, the powerful unthinking god, the indifference of the insects to human commands, and the infinitesimal catastrophe in Le Cl{\'e}zio's story – that facilitates an epistemic fluidity required for a contemporary understanding of ecologies.",
author = "Stephen Loo and Undine Sellbach",
year = "2015",
month = "7",
day = "24",
doi = "10.1080/0969725X.2015.1065125",
language = "English",
volume = "20",
pages = "79--88",
journal = "Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities",
issn = "0969-725X",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "3",

}

Insect affects : the big and small of the entomological imagination in childhood. / Loo, Stephen; Sellbach, Undine.

In: Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, Vol. 20, No. 3, 24.07.2015, p. 79-88.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Insect affects

T2 - the big and small of the entomological imagination in childhood

AU - Loo, Stephen

AU - Sellbach, Undine

PY - 2015/7/24

Y1 - 2015/7/24

N2 - Drawing on a scene in J.M.G. Le Clézio's novel Terra Amata, which tells the story of the instincts of a small boy, the minute sensoria of some bugs and a cosmic catastrophe, this essay demonstrates the ambivalence around insects in animal studies, their contingent location in psychoanalysis and the conundrums they place in ethical philosophy. By reading Le Clézio's tale through Uexküll, Freud, Dodds and Stengers we argue for more nuanced, imbricated and critical connections between ethology, psychoanalysis and ethics. These connections become imperatives in the face of the current environmental crisis, where we urgently need to attend to co-affecting relations that are too distant or proximate, tiny or vast to register as familiar sentient states or ethical feelings. In the process we demonstrate the performative dimensions of what we call the entomological imagination – present in the strange proximity of child and bugs, the powerful unthinking god, the indifference of the insects to human commands, and the infinitesimal catastrophe in Le Clézio's story – that facilitates an epistemic fluidity required for a contemporary understanding of ecologies.

AB - Drawing on a scene in J.M.G. Le Clézio's novel Terra Amata, which tells the story of the instincts of a small boy, the minute sensoria of some bugs and a cosmic catastrophe, this essay demonstrates the ambivalence around insects in animal studies, their contingent location in psychoanalysis and the conundrums they place in ethical philosophy. By reading Le Clézio's tale through Uexküll, Freud, Dodds and Stengers we argue for more nuanced, imbricated and critical connections between ethology, psychoanalysis and ethics. These connections become imperatives in the face of the current environmental crisis, where we urgently need to attend to co-affecting relations that are too distant or proximate, tiny or vast to register as familiar sentient states or ethical feelings. In the process we demonstrate the performative dimensions of what we call the entomological imagination – present in the strange proximity of child and bugs, the powerful unthinking god, the indifference of the insects to human commands, and the infinitesimal catastrophe in Le Clézio's story – that facilitates an epistemic fluidity required for a contemporary understanding of ecologies.

U2 - 10.1080/0969725X.2015.1065125

DO - 10.1080/0969725X.2015.1065125

M3 - Article

VL - 20

SP - 79

EP - 88

JO - Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities

JF - Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities

SN - 0969-725X

IS - 3

ER -