CfP POLLEN18 – “Seeing Like an Eastern European”: regional potentials of political ecology and social inquiry

*** Forwarded 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

“Seeing Like an Eastern European”: regional potentials of political ecology and social inquiry

Through this call we are seeking expressions of interest as well as abstracts for a proposed edited volume on the Political Ecology of Eastern Europe. The spirit of this volume is intended to be collaborative, with particular sections of the book co-written by contributing authors in a series of workshops to be held next year. Please get in touch if you are interested in contributing to such a volume, with a brief outline of your research in the region, even if you cannot make it to the POLLEN Conference in Norway.


What sort of critical political ecology is Eastern Europe (EE) in need of, and what forms are possible?

Within many EE societies today, environmental issues are commonly ‘rendered technical’ by key stakeholders intent on avoiding politicisation, whether of formal engagement by politics and politicians, and/or of engaging in critique that may be seen as political. For some, these strategies can be seen to hark back to socialist times as a response to the over-politicisation of daily life (Gille, 2010; Jehlicka, 2013). However, they are also important mechanisms by which contemporary, often increasingly authoritarian governments in the region establish novel climates of fear and repression in the 21st century. The development of a strong regional and sub-national civil society sphere has similarly stalled, and is frequently under outright attack by those in power.

The starkness of these developments raises pressing questions about the continuing role and influence of critical social scientific research in EE contexts. These include questions about the availability and sources of funding for such research, the scope and purpose of its conduct, and the conditions under which its findings might come to be expressed and taken up. For political ecologists in particular, these questions are further complicated by the field’s associations with political economy, which remains somewhat tainted in EE as a result of its entanglement with former socialist regimes. Yet, while the region has been the source of myriad studies about social, political and economic “transitions” in the “return” to capitalistic Europe, relatively little attention has been given to the transformation and state of EE political ecology scholarship, and in particular the emergence (or not) of social and political critique.

In this call for papers, we seek writers and presenters who are interested in exploring, sharing and debating on the following issues:

  • The development of critical social studies in the EE region, in particular the emergence of new theoretical approaches and networks;
  • How scholars engage with politics and political processes in EE contexts (i.e. in seeking to influence or even disrupt policy processes);
  • The relationships studies and scholars have with their local contexts;
  • In what ways, if at all, the charge of critical and constructive scholarship is interpreted and practised by scholars engaging with political ecology in the EE region?
  • Knowledge pathways and relationships between east and west Europe, north and south, and more globally;
  • The question we began with, namely, what forms of political ecology scholarship are evident and possible in EE?

Papers/comments/presentations may wish to explore these questions through a wide range of sectors and approaches related to (achieving) sustainability.

Please submit abstracts of 250 words by 6th December 2017 to Eszter Kovacs at and György Pataki at


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