Jaws Within Jaws: A Cosmopolitical Ecology of Alien

Jaws Within Jaws: A Cosmopolitical Ecology of Alien

Eric Macedo

The Institute of Speculative and Critical Inquiry


This article investigates multi-species relations in a group of science fiction narratives featuring extraterrestrial beings, paying particular attention to the Alien movie series. The concept of “cosmopolitical ecology” is elaborated as a tool to map relations between the different kinds of beings that populate the modern imagination in SF, especially those between humans, machines, animals and alien entities. Two apparently opposing modes of relation are highlighted in the narratives: domestication and predation. But those modes, intrinsically connected to a broader colonial imaginary, seem to be themselves entangled in complex ways. If modernity is marked by what Ghassan Hage calls “generalized domestication,” then what is the place of predation in modern metaphysics? An ambiguous position often attached to a dangerous other, the role of the predator also emerges as a feature of modern humans, a trace that they sometimes recognize in themselves when they look at an alien mirror.

Keywords: science fiction; predation; domestication; cosmopolitics.

About the Author

Eric Macedo is a social anthropologist, working on themes related to colonialism, ethnocentrism, anthropocentrism, and alterity relations. He has a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, where he also held a postdoctoral position. He is currently a researcher in the Institute of Speculative and Critical Inquiry (Berkeley, CA), investigating images of extraterrestrial beings in science fiction narratives, with a particular interest in crossings between multispecies and decolonial perspectives. He is a member of the artistic collective mordo and moderates the SO FAR reading group at diffrakt: centre for theoretical periphery, in Berlin.

ORCID iD 0000-0003-4474-7934

Website: https://ufrj.academia.edu/EricMacedo

Published: 2022 – 10 – 04

Issue: Vol 5 (2022)

Section: General Articles

Copyright (c) 2022 Eric Macedo

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