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Political Ecology

  • By: Conny Davidsen
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Political ecology is a relatively broad term that encompasses an interdisciplinary field, a theory, and a conceptual approach that focus on how power relations in society affect—and are affected by—the natural environment. In particular, political ecology explores the role of political powers, economic interests, societal norms, and emerging conflicts in environmental decision making. The approach centers on the notion that politics and environment are thoroughly connected on multiple scales and levels, as all access and control of natural resources are structured by power relations in human society. This affects all aspects of nature-society interaction and makes environmental issues on various levels inevitably political.

Political ecology offers analytical tools for a power- or knowledge-focused analysis applicable across theoretical, empirical, and disciplinary boundaries. The field emerged from a ...

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