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date: 17 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter turns on the concept of sensation to sketch some of the ways plants are caught up in contemporary biopolitics. Specifically, the idea of the floral sensation both describes the spectacular qualities of (some) plants that make them particularly desirable commodities in the global floral industry, and gestures to recent research that indicate that plants have sensations that are both similar to and radically different from human ones. Together, these meanings demonstrate that plants are extensively implicated in biopolitical relations, but as agents with specific capacities rather than as passive objects of manipulation. To understand the involvement of active plants in biopolitics, then, requires attentiveness both to the multiplicity of vegetal involvements in socio-political entanglements, and to the ways in which plants complicate questions of life itself; ethical and political responses to plant life must therefore move beyond assertions of plant similarity in the direction of also recognizing their unassimilable differences.

Keywords: plants, biopolitics, sensation, agency, vegetal, life, ethics, difference

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