This paper emerges from and aims to contribute to conversations on agricultural biodiversity loss, value, and renewal. Standard international responses to the crisis of agrobiodiversity erosion focus mostly on ex situ preservation of germplasm, with little financial and strategic support for in situ cultivation. Yet, one agrarian collective in the Peruvian Andes—the Parque de la Papa (Parque)—has repatriated a thousand native potatoes from the gene bank in Lima so as to catalyze in situ regeneration of lost agricultural biodiversity in the (...) region. Drawing on participant action research and observation, this paper engages with the projects underway at the Parque—as well as “indigenous biocultural heritage” (IBCH), the original action-framework guiding the Parque’s work. IBCH grounds the ecology of successful crop diversity within the Andean cosmovisión, or worldview—which is included, but marginalized, in mainstream agrobiodiversity conservation policies. The IBCH concept counters apolitical renderings of agrobiodiversity erosion, arguing that this disregard of biocultural heritage perpetuates colonialist devaluations of efficacious “traditional ecological knowledge” and epistemologies. Accordingly, this paper discerns here an on-site, or in situ, politicalecology of agricultural biodiversity conservation. (shrink)
This collection is drawn from a recent Global Political conference held to mark the centenary of the birth of Harold Innis, Canada's most important political economist. Throughout his life, Innis was concerned with topics which remain central to politicalecology today, such as the link between culture and nature, the impact of humanity on the environment and the role of technology and communications. In this volume, the contributors address environmental issues which Innes was concerened with, from (...) a contemporary, political economy perspective. They explore a wide range of themes and issues including: sustainability; risk and regulation; population growth; and planetary management. Case studies provide further insight into issues such as industrial racism, women and development and collective action. (shrink)
This book presents a comprehensive view of an important new field in human geography and interdisciplinary studies of nature-society relations. Tracing the development of politicalecology from its origins in geography and ecological anthropology in the 1970s, to its current status as an established field, the book investigates how late twentieth-century developments in social and ecological theories are brought together to create a powerful framework for comprehending environmental problems. Making PoliticalEcology argues for an inclusionary conceptualization (...) of the field that absorbs empirical studies from urban, rural, First World and Third World contexts and the theoretical insights of feminism, poststructuralism, neo-Marxism, and non-equilibrium ecology. Extracts from the writings of key figures in politicalecology provide an empirical grounding for these abstract concepts. Neumann's book will convince readers of politicalecology's particular suitability for grappling with the most difficult questions concerning social justice, environmental change, and human relationships with nature. (shrink)
Using a case study from the Kolli Hills, India, I suggest that politicalecology provides a useful theoretical basis for considering localized dietary transitions in rural, agricultural communities in developing countries. By examining the reasons for the near-disappearance of local minor millets as staple foods in three small-farmer communities, I argue that an explicit, actor-oriented analysis allows for an integration of food issues with considerations of environmental circumstances, local aspirations, and labor concerns. That is, an agricultural shift that (...) abandons minor millets as a food resource reflects environmental changes and household economic aspirations. Such an analysis has implications for the creation of practical food security projects through the recognition and incorporation of small-farmer experiences, voices, and priorities. This research was undertaken through ethnographic fieldwork, using semi-structured interviews and participant observation as the primary methods. (shrink)
The paper explores Latour’s conception of politicalecology and its theoretical and political implications. The first part of the paper shows Latour’s critique of theoretical frameworks of scientific and political practices, which, in his opinion, constrain a true discussion on ecological crises by simplifying them and putting them into readymade interpretative models. The second part of the paper examines the notions - the collective, representation, propositions, articulation, and parliament of things - central to understanding Latour’s idea (...) of involvement of humans and non-humans in politics. Finally, the paper explores the potentials and constraints of Latour’s idea of political community of new political subjects , which is constituted in controversies and through controversies. [Projekat Ministarstva nauke Republike Srbije, br. 43007]. (shrink)
Politicalecology has developed as an academic discipline in reaction to the increased concern of nations and individuals about humanity's adverse impact on the environment and the ways international bodies have moved to counter this impact. This new text draws together international experts at the cutting edge of this new field to focus on real world examples of problems and the tension between developed and developing states.
The hatchet and the seed -- A tree with deep roots -- The critical tools -- A field crystallizes -- Destruction of nature -- Construction of nature -- Degradation and marginalization -- Conservation and control -- Environmental conflict -- Environmental identity and social movement -- Where to now?
In _Vibrant Matter_ the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change (...) were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the_ _effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy. (shrink)
Ecology and Revolution: Global Crisis and the Political Challenge is an in-depth exploration and analysis of the global ecological crisis (going far beyond the issue of global warming) in the larger context of historical conditions and ...
With a few notable exceptions, urban garden scholarship tends to be either celebratory or critical of the role urban gardens play in wider political, social, cultural, economic and ecological dynamics. Drawing on urban politicalecology scholarship, this article explores the question of nature within scholarship on urban gardens. I argue that failing to adequately scrutinize the co-constitutive character of nature and society has led some scholars to overlook the potential for urban gardens to achieve broader socio-political (...) goals, and led others to overstate the potential. Employing a politicalecology approach to urban garden analysis clarifies the material and discursive role of nature in urban garden practice, and ultimately contributes to untangling the potential and limits of urban gardens as sites of socio-political change. (shrink)
Bruno Latour’s work, today becoming increasingly influential in philosophical circles, represents a clear challenge to prevailing philosophical accounts of the relation between human subjectivity and the natural world. The ‘politicalecology’ which Latour sets out in works such as We Have Never Been Modern and more extensively in The Politics of Nature is a call to arms to rethink concepts of nature taken for granted ever since the time of Kant. Yet despite its apparent novelty, and despite its (...) apparent break with post-Kantian continental philosophy, Latour’s thinking often unwittingly reworks philosophical moves made within that tradition, even during Kant’s lifetime, specifically in the movement known as Naturphilosophie. Bringing to light the elective affinities between Latour’s ideas and those of Naturphilosophie, this article suggests that the former unconsciously rehearses key tenets of the latter, in particular the claims made by Schelling against Kant. Moreover, Latour will be seen to succumb to the problems which a subsequent developer of Naturphilosophie—Hegel—would identify in Schelling’s own conception of nature. Finally, whilst Latour offers an apparently compelling alternative to notions of subject and object, free-will and mechanism, along with the conceptual separation of humans from the natural world, his thought often fails to achieve the genuine critique that would be adequate to comprehending these oppositions, and to explaining the ecological crisis in which both humans and nonhumans are caught up. (shrink)
The collection of papers that comprise this thesis explore three sets of questions important to environmental philosophy, broadly construed. All three topics are explored through the theoretical device of environmental pragmatism, the argument that philosophical disagreements on environmental questions can sometimes be set aside in order to achieve compatible strategies to work toward improving environmental conditions. As part of this strategy, pragmatists also call for the abandonment of the existing prejudices of environmental philosophy, in particular nonanthropocentrism and commitments to moral (...) monism. Part I of the thesis looks at two sets of debates in environmental philosophy: the social ecology-deep ecology divide in politicalecology, and the debate between monists and pluralists in environmental ethics. Both debates are used as a vehicle to advance the pragmatist position, as well as demonstrate the connection between this thesis and other attempts to articulate a workable form of pluralism in environmental philosophy. Next, the first half of Part II uses the pragmatist premise to launch applied investigations of two environmental questions: the privatization of environmental regulations, and the political appropriation of restoration ecology. The second half of Part II explores questions concerning urban space and political identity, which come to the center of environmental philosophy following a pragmatist assault on its existing prejudices. Finally, Part III continues the themes of the last half of Part II to look at issues concerning technology and built space, topics which have traditionally been ignored by environmental philosophers. These final chapters present a set of issues concerning space and place which must be integral to an environmental philosophy which has been tempered by pragmatic concerns. (shrink)
Rousseau argued forcefully for the superiority of a life lived in accordance with “the simplest impulses of nature,” but his complex (somewould say contradictory) understanding of the relationship between humans and “nature” is rarely cited as a source of inspiration by those seeking to reform the human relationship with the natural world. We argue that the complexities of Rousseau's political thought illuminate important connections between his works and the programs put forth by deep ecology. In Part One, we (...) explore the theoretical connections between Rousseau's account of the human fall from nature and major works of radical environmentalism. In Part Two, we offer suggestions for a reconsideration of Rousseau's work that may illuminate the paradoxical political requirements of deep ecology's recommendations for a more ecological human life. We hope to illustrate howa careful reading of Rousseau'swork may serve as the basis for fruitful questioning of environmentalist thought. (shrink)
In recent years the engagement between the environmental 'agenda' and mainstream political theory has become increasingly widespread and profound. Each has affected the other in palpable and important ways, and it makes increasingly less sense for political theorists in either camp to ignore what the other is doing. This book draws together the threads of this interconnecting enquiry in order to assess its status and meaning. Dobson and Eckersley, two renowned scholars in this field, have commissioned an internationally (...) recognised group of political theory scholars to think through the challenge that politicalecology presents to political theory. Looking at fourteen familiar political ideologies and concepts such as liberalism, conservatism, justice, and democracy, the contributors question how they are re-shaped, distorted or transformed from an environmental perspective. Lively, accessible and authoritative, this book will appeal to professional scholars and students alike. (shrink)