Carbon Democracy – Timothy Mitchell

It took me a while to get through the chapters of Mitchell’s book because it was sometimes hard to keep track of all the points he is making. However, all in all, I am glad that due to this reading, I gained a new perspective on things yet again. It was not that apparent to me that “[i]gnoring the apparatus of oil production” can be seen as an “underlying conception of democracy” (2) before I read the chapters from Mitchell’s book.

I thought that the part about Jihad vs. McWorld and specifically the idea of “McJihad” was very interesting. According to Mitchell, the term “McJihad” refers “not to a contradiction between the logic of capitalism and the other forces and ideas it encounters, but rather to the absence of such a logic. The political violence that the United States, not alone but more than any other actor, has promoted, funded and prolonged across so many parts of the Middle East over recent decades is the persistent symptom of this absence” (p. 230).

Even though Mitchell writes about the term “McJihad” quite a lot and tries to concise its meaning in these few sentences at the end of chapter 8, I think it’d be helpful if we could further discuss the term during class and maybe find our own definition of what Mitchell means by it and what details we specifically need to pay attention to.

I also found this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUeT1sviFB8 which I thought was quite helpful. Mitchell talks about McJihad and the visit of a delegation of the Taliban government of Afghanistan to Washington D.C. in 1997.

– Chantal

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