My Space: governing individuals' carbon emissions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper examines the recent growth in projects designed to enable individuals to 'do their bit' in the struggle to limit climate change. It discusses them in relation to a long-standing critique of trends towards individualisation amongst environmentalists. It suggests that this critique misses the complex way that subjects are produced by these practices and proposes to analyse subjectification in relation to climate change through the lens of governmentality. The paper then proceeds to examine five specific sorts of practice: carbon footprinting; carbon offsetting; carbon dieting; Carbon Reduction Action Groups; and Personal Carbon Allowances. By drawing on the concept of governmentality we show how contemporary forms of carbon government work through calculative practices that simultaneously totalise (aggregating social practices, overall greenhouse gas emissions) and individualise (producing reflexive subjects actively managing their greenhouse gas practices).


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-362
JournalEnvironment & Planning. D, Society and Space
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch