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Peak OilApocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture$
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Matthew Schneider-Mayerson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226285269

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226285573.001.0001

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The Peak Oil Ideology and Subculture

The Peak Oil Ideology and Subculture

(p.17) One The Peak Oil Ideology and Subculture
Peak Oil

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter introduces the motivations, beliefs and actions of Americans involved in the peak oil movement and explains the ideology (and ‘ecological identity’) of ‘peakism’ via profiles of three representative peakists and two well-known figures, evangelist James Howard Kunstler and “Peak Shrink” Kathy McMahon. It applies McMahon’s through-the-looking-glass environmental psychological perspective, in which acute awareness of ecological crisis and preparation for the collapse of industrial civilization is not a symptom of emotional instability or mental illness but a sign of lucidity and health, to an experience shared by almost all peak oil believers: social marginalization as a result of discussing and acting on serious environmental issues, such as energy depletion and climate change. Finally, it highlights the ways that peakism deviated from the American ‘dominant social paradigm’ of implicit faith in technology and the inexhaustibility of crucial resources.

Keywords:   peakism, ecological identity, collapse, sustainability, post-carbon future, dominant social paradigm, social marginalization, peak oil movement, subculture, ideology

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