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Political Ecology

  • By: Gabriela Valdivia
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Political ecology is an empirically based approach, perspective, or research agenda engaged by a broad spectrum of academics to study environmental change and its relationship with humans. Political ecology is also a critique against dominant explanations of human-environment issues that seeks to demonstrate how environmental conditions, relations, and conflicts are contingent outcomes of power, as well as instrumental to political and ecological change. Political ecologists argue that the nature, causes, and effects of environmental change (e.g., climate change, food scarcity, land degradation, deforestation, pollution, water shortages, biopiracy, and biodiversity loss) are simultaneously political and ecological, social and biophysical and, thus, need to be examined in relation to the political-economic and ecological processes that frame them.

The way in which the political economy–ecology relationship is studied varies ...

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