Announcing POLLEN18: Political Ecology, the Green Economy, and Alternative Sustainabilities

Second Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN)

POLLEN18: Political Ecology, the Green Economy, and Alternative Sustainabilities

When: 20-22 June 2018
Where: Oslo and Akershus University College, Oslo, Norway
Organised by: The Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) Secretariat; Oslo and Akershus University College; Centre for Environment and Development (SUM), University of Oslo; Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Paper/Panel Submission Deadline: 15 December 2017
Conference Website:

Over the past two decades, political ecologists have provided extensive critiques of the privatization, commodification, and marketization of nature, including of the new forms of accumulation and appropriation that these might facilitate under the more recent guise of the so-called green economy. These critiques have often demonstrated that such approaches can retain deleterious implications for certain vulnerable populations across the developing world and beyond, including in urban centres and within the interstices of the ‘Global North’. With few exceptions, however, political ecologists have paid decidedly less attention to exploring, critically engaging, and ‘planting the seed’ of alternative initiatives for pursuing both sustainability and socio-environmental justice. Surely, many scholars have begun to both support and study movements pursuing alternative socio-ecological relations rooted in critical traditions such as degrowth, postcolonialism, feminism, anarchism, and eco-Marxism. Yet much more could be done to understand and illuminate the prospects for these movements, as well as potential sources of tension and synergy between and amongst them.

Accordingly, this second biennial conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) aims to engage the emergence of the green economy or green growth in their various iterations explicitly as a terrain of struggle. In doing so, we invite empirical, conceptual, political, and methodological contributions appraising the ways in which there are many potential ‘alternative sustainabilities’ for pursuing human and non-human well-being in the context of global economic and ecological crises. Each of these reflects often quite variable constellations of social, political, and economic relations. However, there are also diverse efforts underway to pre-empt or to foreclose upon these alternatives – as well as tensions, contradictions, and fissions within movements aiming to actualize or enact them – highlighting an implicit politics of precisely whose conception of sustainability is deemed to be possible or desirable in any given time and place.

In pursuit of this objective, proposals for papers and panels are invited that address one or more of the following themes and issues:

  • Concrete forms and effects of green economy practices including the translation of global discourses into place-based projects and programmes for – inter alia – carbon pricing and forestry schemes or other payments for ecosystem services (PES) initiatives; diverse urban socio-ecological metabolisms in the form of ‘green’ gentrification, resilience, or ‘sustainable cities’ planning arrangements; mobilities related to ecotourism, refuge-seeking, and/or environmental displacement; biofuels and renewable energy; ‘climate smart agriculture’ and landscape conservation approaches; ‘neoliberal’ conservation or environmental governance strategies.
  • Drivers and consequences of the emergence of green capitalism, such as effects on socioeconomic inequality; conflict, contestations, and ‘green violence’; environmental securitization or militarization; altered patterns of resource access, including along class and gender lines; shifting relations between capital, civil society, and the state; financial crises under conditions of global environmental change; dynamics of land, ‘green’ and water ‘grabbing’ or acquisition; intersections between past and present varieties of green capitalism and ‘environmental’ colonialism.
  • Challenges for and pathways to alternative sustainabilities, such as those rooted in degrowth, postcolonialism or decolonial thought, eco-Marxism, feminism, anarchism, and environmental justice; synergies and tensions between movements of workers, peasants and indigenous peoples; support and opposition to various alternatives from both ‘above’ and ‘below’; prospects for resistances and contestations operating locally as well as across places, spaces, and scales; emerging or mutating forms of rural and urban populism on the political ‘right’ as well as the left; new racisms and identity-based antagonisms in both the Global North and South.
  • Conceptual, political and methodological reflections about the role of twenty-first century political ecologies vis-à-vis alternative sustainabilities, including those examining promises and complications of ‘engaged’ political ecologies; methodological implications of combined scholarship and activism, as well as other methodological and study design challenges in political ecology; the prefiguration of ‘alternative political ecologies’ and scholarly practices to synergize with ‘alternative sustainabilities’.

We invite paper and full panel proposals (with a maximum of 4 paper presentations for 1 panel) for this conference. Please send these to before 15 December 2017.

Keynote speakers:

  1. Paige West (Barnard College and Columbia University, USA)
  2. Tania Murray Li (University of Toronto, Canada)
  3. Ashish Kothari (Kalpavriksh, India)

Organizing committee
Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences: Tor A. Benjaminsen, Connor Joseph Cavanagh, Mikael Bergius, Jill T. Buseth, Shai Divon
Oslo and Akershus University College: Hanne Svarstad, Roy Krøvel, Karl Norli, Thorgeir Kolshus, Andreas Ytterstad, Berit Aasen
Centre for Environment and Development (SUM), University of Oslo: Mariel Aguilar Støen, Susanne Normann, Jostein Jakobsen

Advisory board
Bram Büscher (Wageningen University, the Netherlands)
Christine Noe (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Denis Gautier (CIRAD, Montpellier, France)
Sian Sullivan (Bath Spa University, UK)
Nitin Rai (ATREE, India)
Kathleen McAfee (San Francisco State University, USA)
Simon Batterbury (Lancaster University, UK)
Tracey Osborne (University of Arizona, USA)
Wendy Harcourt (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands)
Adrian Nel (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)
Andrea Nightingale (University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden)
Wolfram Dressler (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Rosaleen Duffy (University of Sheffield, UK)
Ashish Kothari (Kalpavriksh, India)
Susan Paulson (University of Florida, USA)
Robert Fletcher (Wageningen University, the Netherlands)
Amber Huff (IDS, University of Sussex, UK)
Amita Baviskar (Institute for Economic Growth, India)
Paul Robbins (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
Frances Cleaver (University of Sheffield, UK)
Maano Ramutsindela (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Peter Wilshusen (Bucknell University, USA)
Noella Gray (University of Guelph, Canada)
Marta Irving (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Dan Brockington (University of Sheffield, UK)
Kristen Lyons (University of Queensland, Australia)
Esteve Corbera (ICTA, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain)
Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza (Duke University, USA)
Scott Prudham (University of Toronto, Canada)
Lyla Mehta (IDS, University of Sussex, UK)
Jim Igoe (University of Virginia, USA)
Catherine Corson (Mount Holyoke College, USA)
Elizabeth Lunstrum (York University, Canada)
Jun Borras (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands)
Leah Horowitz (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
David Tumusiime (Makerere University, Uganda)
Ken MacDonald (University of Toronto, Canada)
Marja Spierenburg (Radboud University, the Netherlands)
Ben Neimark (Lancaster University, UK)
Isabelle Anguelovski (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain)
Robin Roth (University of Guelph, Canada)
Christos Zografos (Johns Hopkins University – Pompeu Fabra University, Spain)
Jessica Dempsey (University of British Columbia, Canada)
Bill Adams (University of Cambridge, UK)

Place and venue: The Norwegian capital of Oslo is beautifully situated on the coastal Oslofjord, straddling the scenic Akerselva river and surrounded by forests and cultural landscapes. The Oslo and Akershus University College is exceptionally well-situated in the centre of the city, within walking distance of major landmarks and attractions.

About POLLEN: The Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) is an umbrella organisation of political ecology researchers, groups, projects, networks and ‘nodes’ across the globe. As the name suggests, POLLEN seeks to provide a platform for the ‘cross fertilization’ of ideas where the world’s many rich and diverse intellectual traditions of environmental thought can come together, discuss, and debate the latest developments in the field. For more information or to sign up for (free!) membership in the network, please visit




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