Call for chapter contributions: An Eastern European Political Ecology of Environment-State Relations

*** Call for chapter contributions to An Eastern European Political Ecology of Environment-State Relations ***

We are seeking a couple more chapters for our edited volume that seeks to survey the current state of social inquiry into environment-state relations in Central and Eastern Europe. The volume engages with ‘political ecology’ as a particular way of thinking and analysing, and as an employed, applied framework to issues concerning contemporary relationships between people, the environment and knowledge-production in Europe.The proposed book will be structured around three main themes, namely:      

I.        Knowledge production and its place in EE: the emergence (or not) of ‘native’ critical social science inquiry in the Eastern European (EE) region, including an overview of the current position and attacks on academic freedoms and institutions in EE, with attention to the consequences for critical social science and its forms. For this section, we are looking for book chapters around transformations in the lives of ‘knowledge producers’ through universities and research institutions as these institutions themselves are transformed (from public to private, or as they come under ‘research supervision’ or outright attack); the public role and limitations of social inquiry outputs; research in EE relative to and dependent on EU sources; trends and realities of research funding in the social-environmental sphere; the forms critical social science research takes today, and contextual opportunities for its uptake.    

II.        ethnographically-rich, grounded contributions on the shifting relations between the state, its resources & people in the conservation and environment sectors in this increasingly populist political moment. Official ‘development’ in EE occurs primarily through state- and EU- led investment. Investment and new legal structures drastically change opportunities of access and reward, where political ecologists may offer the tools of engagement to document and critically analyse in whose primary interests laws and investments are made and changed. The emergence and consolidation of new elites, with the legal tools and aids of the state, transform the use and value of EE countrysides and their possibilities, which has enormous ramifications for the workability of the European/EU project.For this section, potential chapters may focus on the geopolitical nature of conservation and extractivism in EEurope; changing legal frameworks for access to land and associated resources; forms and consequences of land privatisation and land grabbing; the impacts of green and other farm subsidies; the political economy of conservation; the realisation of the EU’s rural development programmes and financing in EE.   

III.        Geographies of hope, contestation and responsibility: While rural areas are typically depicted as socio-economically disadvantaged and ‘backward’, questions around rural agency, contemporary livelihoods and opportunity are central to understanding rural development and the needs of extractive investment and management, and changing perceptions and values towards nature and the role of the state in EE societies. Potential chapters are welcome around scholar/activist/rural entrepreneur collaborations and experiments; experiments in (local) democracy, alternative business/livelihoods, in the maintenance of ‘traditional’ cultural land use practices; the manifestations and sources of political hope and humour; and reflections on the rural nature of these ‘experiments’.

We encourage authors to draw from domestic, non-English sources of philosophy, theory, politics to enrich their accounts, and welcome strongly grounded, ethnographically rich contributions.

A few words underlying the philosophy of this collection: the idea for the volume has been largely motivated due to the fragmentation of researchers living and working in Eastern Europe, and the recognition that it is becoming increasingly difficult to persist with critical lines of social inquiry in our work. Our publication plans for the volume are to reflect the funding difficulties and realities of EE, and we plan to approach the Cambridge-based Open Book Publishers ( once we have a confirmed chapter outline. An important priority is to make our work accessible and affordable to the people with whom we work and regions that we are actively engaged with.

We will also invite all contributing authors to a two-day workshop in Budapest in November 2019, where travel and accommodation expenses will be covered. 

At this stage, we ask interested contributors to submit a max. 300 word abstract of their proposed chapter contributions, stating which book section the contribution would aim to fit within. The deadline for abstracts is 22 July. Abstracts will be reviewed as soon as possible, and upon acceptance we ask authors to submit a draft version of their chapter by 31stOctober 2019, so that these may be shared and circulated amongst your co-collaborators before our November workshop. Final chapters will need to be submitted by February 2020 (and will be max. 5000 words). 

If you would like any further information, or have any questions, please get in touch with Eszter Kovacs at

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