Political Ecology Network

CfP POLLEN18: The workings of green economies on the ground – impacts for social and environmental justice

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*** Posted on behalf of the organizers ***

POLLEN18: Political Ecology, the Green Economy, and Alternative Sustainabilities, 20-22 June 2018, Oslo and Akershus University College, Oslo, Norway

The workings of green economies on the ground – impacts for social and environmental justice

Organisers: Klara Fischer and Kaisa Raitio, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

The way capitalism has expanded further into nature has resulted in a simplification of local ecologies and associated constraints to local livelihoods (Büscher et al., 2012; Castree, 2008a, b; McCarthy and Prudham, 2004; Neimark, 2012); and  an appropriation of nature furthering  already uneven trajectories of development (Fairhead et al., 2012; Fitting, 2006). Recent political attention to the transition to green economies, and the associated policies and frameworks, might on the one hand act as a force against this trend, stimulating a move away from reliance on environmentally damaging resources and practices. However the same policies also risk stimulating further appropriation of nature and increasingly uneven development, as seen in several recent publications (e.g. Bergius et al., 2017; Hajdu et al., 2016; Nel, 2015). Bergius et al. (2017) for example show how Tanzanian smallholders again are portrayed and treated as inferior when policies for the modernization of agriculture re-emerge under the new umbrella of the ‘green economy‘. In another context, Hajdu et al. (2016) point out how narratives of degradation are refuelled with the current attention to climate change mitigation in global policies and how this leads to discursive and material undermining of local livelihoods in northern Uganda. Policies for stimulating green economies are thus becoming a force in their own right, with differing, but often negative impacts on local political ecologies.

In this panel we invite empirical examples from across the world of how governing the green economy has impacted on diverse local political ecologies. As formulated by Castree (2008b 137) “transnational rules and mechanisms of environmental governance are impacting upon otherwise distinct places and biophysical resources and so creating commonality-within-difference”. Thus it is likely that interventions under the green economy might have some similar impacts across different contexts. The “commonality-within-difference” that Castree refers to means not simply to generalise but to draw out commonalities between individual cases, without reducing their complexity and contextual relevance. The discussion in this panel aims at drawing out similarities in the workings of the green economy between distinct political ecologies, while staying true to their diversity. By linking physically distinct places and drawing out similarities without simplifying one can help “enhance struggles in the name of common interests” (Katz, 2001 1230).

The panel aims at:

1) Contributing to an improved understanding of the impacts of green economies on different political ecologies, and the mechanisms through which these impacts occur, and by doing so

2) Facilitating struggles to resist appropriation of nature and undermining of local livelihoods that occur under particular workings of the green economy.

We welcome contributions that address these aims through empirically rich examples. When selecting abstracts we will aim to make them complement each other empirically with the purpose of being able to discuss similarities and differences across the globe.

We invite submissions of abstracts of 300 words by 8th December. Please send abstracts to klara.fischer@slu.se


Bergius, Mikael, Tor A. Benjaminsen and Mats Widgren 2017. Green economy, Scandinavian investments and agricultural modernization in Tanzania. The Journal of Peasant Studies: 1-28. doi: 10.1080/03066150.2016.1260554

Büscher, Bram, Sian Sullivan, Katja Neves, Jim Igoe and Dan Brockington 2012. Towards a synthesized critique of neoliberal biodiversity conservation. Capitalism Nature Socialism 23: 4-30.

Castree, Noel 2008a. Neoliberalising nature: processes, effects, and evaluations. Environment and Planning A 40: 153-173.

Castree, Noel 2008b. Neoliberalising nature: the logics of deregulation and reregulation. Environment and Planning A 40: 131-152.

Fairhead, James, Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones 2012. Green Grabbing: a new appropriation of nature? Journal of Peasant Studies 39: 237-261.

Fitting, E. 2006. Importing corn, exporting labor: The neoliberal corn regime, GMOs, and the erosion of Mexican biodiversity. Agriculture and Human Values 23: 15-26.

Hajdu, Flora, Oskar Penje and Klara Fischer 2016. Questioning the use of ‘degradation’in climate mitigation: A case study of a forest carbon CDM project in Uganda. Land use policy 59: 412-422.

Katz, Cindi 2001. On the grounds of globalization: a topography for feminist political engagement. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 26: 1213-1234.

McCarthy, James and Scott Prudham 2004. Neoliberal nature and the nature of neoliberalism. Geoforum 35: 275-283.

Neimark, Benjamin D. 2012. Industrializing nature, knowledge, and labour: The political economy of bioprospecting in Madagascar. Geoforum 43: 980-990. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2012.05.003

Nel, A. 2015. The choreography of sacrifice: Market environmentalism, biopolitics and environmental damage. Geoforum 65: 246-254. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.08.011


Author: Connor Joseph Cavanagh

Research Fellow, Faculty of Landscape and Society, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Contact: connor.cavanagh@nmbu.no

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