Political ecology—open questions

(Continuing a 1998 draft paper on Political ecology–a fertile site for development of social theory)

Open questions

….tensions we have identified among political ecological accounts (see earlier post), or even within any one account, such as Schroeder’s.  If an account emphasizes one pole of the following tensions, consider what would be required to attend to the other pole or to both poles together:[1]

i) description of the various events vs. explanation of what caused what;

ii) explanations made in term of theoretical “necessities,” informed, e.g., by political economy vs. ad hoc set of explanatory factors as given by the particular observations

iii) ethnographic engagement with subjects vs. study as comprehensive overview

iv) activist engagement vs. social scientific analysis/ stance

v) conflict over material conditions of production vs. discursive/ linguistic constructions (categories, labels, self-descriptions)

vi) focus on local situation vs. national or transnational conditions and changes

vii) action constrained by social structure vs. rationality and initiative of specific agents


[1]  A larger set of tensions within political ecology was compiled at a workshop on political ecology held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, May 1996.

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One thought on “Political ecology—open questions

  1. Pingback: Political ecology—Distributed social agency « Intersecting Processes

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