CfP POLLEN22: Emotional Political Ecologies – Methods, Insights and Potential

(Image: rural protest in Cambodia, taken by Alice Beban)

Convened by Alice Beban (Massey University), Sango Mahanty (The Australian National University) and Sopheak Chann (Royal University of Phnom Penh)


Although emotions are a central facet of lived experience, they have been under-explored in the processes of dispossession, power and capital intensification that political ecologists study. The “affective turn” in feminist geography, feminist political ecology and anthropology underpins a flourishing of work and insights on emotions within social movements (Ruiz-Junco, 2012), in state-society relations (Beban, 2021) and in lived experiences of nature-society disruption (González-Hidalgo and Zografos, 2020). This burgeoning scholarship shows how emotions influence resource access, use, and control, and shape people’s everyday lives and relationships with each other and with the state (Nightingale, 2011; Sultana, 2015). Yet, the emotional is often not regarded as a core concern in political ecology. In this panel, we explore the possibilities that working with emotions offers for advancing the broader field of political ecology. Working with emotion opens possibilities for imagining new kinds of human-non-human relations, more deeply theorising power and resistance, and centering lived experience and relational subjectivities to go beyond binary ways of thinking about development and nature.

This panel will explore current approaches and work on emotions with a political ecology lens. Panelists might consider exploring questions such as:

  • How do the material and the affective co-constitute socio-political power and ecological change?
  • How are emotions deployed in projects of state-making through natural resource control and in resistance to these projects? How does this in turn transform people’s conceptions of and relations to their environment?
  • Working with emotions demands reflexivity, and listening in new ways; what possibilities does this offer for advancing the decolonising of knowledge in political ecology? 
  • How do emotions enable (and disable) collective mobilisation in environmental conflict and/or an ethics of care? 
  • How do we know emotion? In what ways are PE scholars engaging the methodological challenge posed by non-representational theories that recognise emotion can’t always be articulated in words?

We encourage non-traditional paper formats that explore knowledge production in creative ways. In the spirit of collectivising knowledge, we ask for presentations of 10-15 minutes maximum, to incorporate space for collective debate and brainstorming around the core topics at the end of the session. We will ask panelists to act as discussant on one of the other session papers/contributions to foster conversation.  

Please submit abstracts of 200-250 words by 9 December 2021 to: Alice Beban


Beban, A. (2021) Unwritten Rule. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

González-Hidalgo, M. and Zografos, C. (2020) ‘Emotions, power, and environmental conflict: Expanding the “emotional turn” in political ecology’, Progress in Human Geography, 44(2), pp. 235–255. doi: 10.1177/0309132518824644.

Nightingale, A. J. (2011) ‘Bounding difference: Intersectionality and the material production of gender, caste, class and environment in Nepal’, Geoforum, 42(2), p. 153. doi:

Ruiz-Junco, N. (2012) ‘Feeling Social Movements: Theoretical Contributions to Social Movement Research on Emotions’, Sociology Compass, 7(1), pp. 45–54.

Sultana, F. (2015) ‘Emotional Political Ecology’, in Bryant, R. (ed.) The International Handbook of Political Ecology. London: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 633–644.

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