CfP POLLEN18: The Green Panopticon and its Discontents

*** Forwarded via Rob Fletcher ***

CALL FOR PAPERS –  Presentation Session Proposal

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

The Green Panopticon and its Discontents: New Directions in Environmentality Research

Convenors: Robert Fletcher (Wageningen University, Netherlands) and José A. Cortes-Vazquez (University of A Coruña, Spain)

A substantial body of research has productively employed a Foucault-derived notion of “environmentality” to describe the “conduct of conduct” and the formation of “subjects” in environmental governance. From early explorations of the rise of the global environmental governance architecture following the 1992 Rio Summit (Darier 1996, Luke 1999) to analysis of the “intimate governance” at work in community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) initiatives (Agrawal 2005), subsequent researchers have taken this perspective in new directions, both critiquing aspects of earlier analyses and advancing novel ways in which the environmentality lens can be understood and employed. Particularly productive in this regard has been research drawing on Foucault’s later-published work to describe how different forms of environmentality may intersect and overlap in environmental projects (Fletcher 2017), including how such projects can work “bottom up” as opposed to the top-down governance emphasized by Foucault and some of those he has influenced (Singh 2013; Forsyth and Walker 2014). Others have argued that different terms, such as “constitutionality” (Haller et al. 2016), are instead needed to describe these more egalitarian, collaborative processes.

Building on this base, contributions to this panel explore how a revised or expanded understanding of environmentality (or a related term) can further our understanding of the evermore complex terrain of environmental politics today. They address, among others, the following questions:

·       How can current environmental interventions be seen to exhibit different combinations of environmentalities?

·       What different subjects do different environmental projects seek to shape and how does this influence projects’ outcomes?

·       How can an environmentality lens shed light on the rise and workings of the green economy in particular?

·       Can a focus on environmentalities help to advance a liberatory environmental politics in pursuit of alternative and bottom-up sustainabilities?

·       Are there different phenomena at the intersections between environmental projects and the formation of new environmental subjects at work that challenge even an expanded environmentalities frame?

·       If so, what other concepts or perspectives might be developed to address such dynamics?

If interested to participate, please send a title and 250 word abstract to<> and<> by 30 November. If there is sufficient interest we may expand into multiple panels.


Agrawal A, 2005. Environmentality: Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects (Duke University Press, Durham, NC)

Darier, E. “Environmental governmentality: The case of Canada’s green plan.” Environmental Politics 5, no. 4 (1996): 585-606.

Fletcher, R., ed. 2017. Geoforum 85, virtual special issue on “Multiple Governmentalities in Environmental Politics.”

Forsyth, T., & Walker, A. (2014). Hidden alliances: rethinking environmentality and the politics of knowledge in Thailand’s campaign for community forestry. Conservation and Society, 12(4), 408.

Haller, T., Acciaioli, G., & Rist, S. (2016). Constitutionality: Conditions for crafting local ownership of institution-building processes. Society & Natural Resources, 29(1), 68-87.

Luke, T. 1999. Environmentality as green governmentality. In Discourses of the Environment (ed. E. Darier) pp. 121–151. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.

Singh NM. 2013. “The affective labor of growing forests and the becoming of environmental subjects: rethinking environmentality in Odisha, India.” Geoforum 47 189-198.

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