Plant totemism. Toward a new maginary of the plants in the Anthropocene

Roberto Paura


Plant totemism. Toward a new imaginary of the plants in the AnthropoceneThe Italian philosopher Emanuele Coccia coined the concept of “plant totemism” to define the new emerging relationship between humans and plants in the Anthropocene. Recently, the interest in plant life is increasing, thanks to new researches on trees’ ability to perceive the environment they live in and to build social relationships. These topics exert great fascination in the social imaginary since they are rooted in popular culture and return in modern times in many science-fiction stories. Moreover, studies on plant intelligence first emerged in the pseudoscientific milieu of New Age. As a result, new forms of spirituality and pseudoscience emerge, from “forest bathing” to the “bioenergetic landscape”. The article analyzes the different forms the rediscovery of plant life assumes in the modern imaginary, concluding that plant totemism can be considered a case study in social imaginary to understand the emergence of a new sicentific spirit that tries to reconcile human and non- human world.


Plants | Totemism |Antrhopocene | Pseudoscience| Ecospirituality

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