CfP POLLEN20 – Political Ecologies of/at the Edge: Climate Futures, Marginal Landscapes and Infrastructural Imaginaries

Call for participants
Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN 20)
Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

Session organizers

Aurora Fredriksen (University of Manchester) and Nate Millington (University of Manchester). Paper titles and abstracts of 250 words should be sent to nate.millington@manchester.ac.uk & aurora.fredriksen@manchester.ac.uk by 20 October 2019.

Session description

The promise of climate change mitigation through large-scale infrastructural development looms large in imaginaries of the Anthropocene. Narratives of resilience, new technologies associated with geoengineering, and experiments with planetary repair suggest the possibility of climate proof futures in a moment of deep planetary uncertainty. While infrastructural responses to climate change often carry divergent relationships to the increasingly blurry binary of adaptation/mitigation, many draw together dreams of safety from the vagaries of climate change with forecasts of continued economic growth.  

In this session, we interrogate the blind-spots in visions of adaptation to the climate crisis through infrastructural ‘fixes.’ We ask: 

  • In the policy-making and planning processes associated with these new infrastructures for climate mitigation, which groups and sets of relations – human and beyond – are excluded from the frame of consideration? 
  • Which ways of knowing about and valuing ecologies come to count and how? 
  • How are different relations of power and (in)justice folded into this vision of climate change mitigation through infrastructural builds? 
  • How do the complex spatialities of the contemporary built environment intersect with ongoing calls for profound societal change through ambitious frameworks such as the Green New Deal, Degrowth, and Eco-modernization?

We are particularly interested in the idea of the ‘edge’ within the ecological and political imaginaries of adaptation and mitigation. We understand the edge literally (ie. to refer to coastal and offshore infrastructures) but also conceptually. Attention to the margin can offer insight into broader global processes as they unfold in specific sites. The edge in this sense can be a mechanism for highlighting that which exists at the margin of the contemporary economy. It can be a temporal marker, one inseparable from broader forecasts about the time scales of a warming world and the various precipices that mark contemporary social and ecological thinking. Finally, the edge can signal the theoretical borderlands of political ecology, opening up spaces for speculations and entanglements with other disciplines and approaches to knowledge. 

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