CfP POLLEN18: Towards green modernization? Implementation and institutionalization of the green economy

*** Forwarded on behalf of the organizers ***

POLLEN18 – Political Ecology, the Green Economy, and Alternative Sustainabilities 20.- 22. June 2018, Oslo and Akershus University College (HiOA), Oslo, Norway

Towards green modernization? Implementation and institutionalization of the green economy

Conveners: Mikael Bergius and Jill Tove Buseth (Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Contact: and

‘Greening’ economies and growth (UNEP, 2011; OECD, 2011) has since Rio+20 played a key role in environmental governance and management, as well as in international development (Norwegian Government, 2017; Kennard and Provost, 2016). There is a growing amount of policy and research considering practical implications of green transitions that support a triple-bottom line: people, planet and profit (OECD, 2011; UNEP, 2011). While the Green Economy unfolds in different directions, two key trends stand out. In the Global North, green shifts seem to imply technological and market-based solutions to environmental challenges (Brown et al., 2014; Ehresman and Okereke, 2015; Scoones et al., 2015). While this is also important in the Global South, green economy implementation in these parts of the world is often interpreted as environmental protection and shifts in access and control over natural resources (Bergius et al., 2017; Nhamo and Chekwoti, 2014). These trends, combined with persisting high rates of poverty and so-called ‘under-development’, we claim, have revitalized modernization to become a leading discourse and approach within international development. Traditional modernization thinking spelled out a geographical divide between the cores of ‘modernity’ and peripheries of ‘tradition’. The development and modernization process insinuated a stage-wise ‘upgrading’ of society through progressive ‘control’ over nature and resources. In the post-Rio+20 context these ideas seem to reappear in the form of green modernization. This occurs amid a growing turn towards the private sector and business in international development, often in the form of public-private partnerships. A wide range of development initiatives and projects across the Global South are now framed in this light. This is particularly evident in, but not limited to, the agriculture sector, where proponents of large investment projects in land for food, (‘green’) fuels or carbon sinking adopt combinations of ‘green’ and ‘modernization’ discourses – especially in Africa (Bergius et al. 2017; WEF, 2010; Buseth, 2017; Daño, 2007). The emphasis in this discourse, and such projects and schemes, is put on green versions of central modernization narratives around growth, progression, advancement, capital/technology transfer, investment and, not least, on a social trickle-down effect.

We seek abstracts building on ideas related, but not limited to, the following thematic topics:

  • Case studies of green economy implementations and institutionalizations in the global South
  • Discussions of agricultural investments related to the new, ‘doubly’ green revolution in Africa and beyond.
  • Theoretical contributions on green modernization, green development and/ or contemporary modernization development discourses.
  • Green sector development initiatives, public-private partnerships, involvement of multinational corporations and/ or initiatives in the global South driven from abroad (North-South and South-South).

Please send abstracts of approximately 300 words to Jill Tove Buseth ( and Mikael Bergius ( by 01 December 2017.


Bergius, M., Benjaminsen, T.A., Widgren, M., 2017. Green economy, Scandinavian investments and agricultural modernization in Tanzania. Journal of Peasant Studies. Published online 24 Febr 2017.  DOI:

Brown, E., Cloke, J., Gent, D., Hill, D., 2014. Green growth or ecological commodification: debating the green economy in the global south. Geografiska Annaler: Series B. 93 (3), 245- 259.

Buseth, J.T. 2017. The green economy in Tanzania: from global discourses to institutionalization.  Geoforum, vol. 86. Pp. 42-52.

Daño, E.C., 2007. Unmasking the new green revolution in Africa: Motives, players and dynamics     Policy  paper by Third World Network, Church Development Service (EED) and African  Centre  for       Biosafety. Third World Network, Penang/Bonn/Richmond.

Ehresman, T.G., Okereke, C., 2015. Environmental justice and conceptions of the green economy. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 15 (1), 13-27.

Kennard, M. and Provost, C., 2017. How aid became big business. Pulitzercenter. May 16 2016. Accessed  online 25 Oct 2017.

Nhamo, G., Chekwoti, C., 2014. New generation land grabs in a green African economy. In: Nhamo, G., Chekwoti, C. (Eds.) Land grabs in a green African economy. Implications for trade, investment and development policies. Africa Institute of South Africa, Pretoria, pp. 1-9.

Norwegian Government, 2017. Felles ansvar for felles fremtid. Bærekraftsmålene og norsk utviklingspolitikk. Meld. St. 24 (2016 – 2017) report to the Storting (White paper). Norwegian Government, Oslo. [English translation not available at accessed date, 06.04.17]

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2011. Towards green growth. A summary for policy makers. May 2011. OECD publishing, Paris.

Scoones, I., Newell, P., Leach, M., 2015. The politics of green transformations. In: Scoones, I., Leach, M., Newell, P., (Eds.), The politics of green transformations. Routledge, Oxon/ New York, pp.       1-24.

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), 2011. Towards a green economy: Pathways to sustainable development and poverty eradication. UNEP/ GRID Arendal, Nairobi/ Arendal.

World Economic Forum (WEF), 2010. Realizing a new vision for agriculture: A roadmap for stakeholders. Geneva, WEF/McKinsey & Company.



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