CfP POLLEN20 – Green financialization: Renewable energy transitions and the power of green finance flows

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

Session organizers

Please circulate widely and send us your abstracts (up to 250 words) till November 10th to Franziska Müller (fmueller@uni-kassel.de)

Session description

Renewable energy is rapidly gaining relevance as a key energy source in many countries in the Global South. While more and more states adopt renewable energy policies, green finance flows to the Global South have equivocally reached unprecedented heights. This is echoed by renewable energy policies that primarily address green investors, for instance through auction instruments. Increasingly also derisking agendas are rolled out, which aim at creating a green level playing field for transnational investors. Likewise, the promotion of private dispute settlement in the energy sector, most prominently through the energy charter treaty, uses juridical powers to stabilize the newly emerging green investment regimes.

Altogether, these developments raise the concern that the democratizing powers of renewable energy transitions are downplayed, whilst the contours of green transnational statehood are materializing. In this context, ‘financialization’ has advanced as an analytical concept that allows to explore the abstract juridical or financial powers but also the ‘financialization of daily life’ that currently restructure the course of renewable energy transitions, particularly in the Global South. We see the need to ask how financialization works as a powerful political strategy and which typical instruments, bureaucracies and programs are mobilized. We are interested in mapping, analyzing and criticizing the powers of green finance in the Global South and want to start a conversation both on theoretical approaches towards financialization and on empirical cases that highlight idiosyncratic features in Southern energy sectors.

We welcome papers that address (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • Which policies fostering financialization are currently emerging?
  • How do the abstract powers of green financialization play out in a financalization of daily life?
  • How is the postcolonial state especially prone to a ‘relaunch’ in the shape of green transnational statehood?
  • How are concrete political agendas, such as the Energy Charter Treaty/International Energy Charter or the Compact with Africa contributing to green financialization?
  • Which theoretical approaches – e.g. engaging scholarship from International Political Economy, governmentality, new constitutionalism, or critical geography seem fruitful for analyzing financialization?

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