POLLEN December Newsletter

Dear POLLEN Members and Friends,

Thanks to all your input, we have a filled-up newsletter with plenty of exciting new publications, conference and course announcements, blog posts and job openings. As we have reached the end of 2019 and therefore the last newsletter of the year, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continuous engagement with POLLEN and making it a great network of cooperation in political ecology! 

NOTE: the updates below are a copy of the original newsletter, and therefore might not contain all hyperlinks and media. To access the original with full content, as well as to see previous newsletters, follow this link: https://us20.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=71814a42a0d2d8f390cbee1be&id=3fe97edf35

Happy Holidays and New Year,

Best wishes,
POLLEN Secretariat

REMINDER: Posting articles on website
 In order to make the newsfeed on the POLLEN website easier to read, we encourage the use of the ‘MORE’ function. This allows long articles to show in a collapsed format, with a ‘Read more’ button that expands the full-length article. Once you have entered the text, put your cursor where you would like the preview to end, and add a block named ‘MORE’. 

REMINDER: Documentaries and podcasts We have added a page to the website with a list of documentaries and podcasts in Political Ecology. It is a constantly growing list, and we have received a number of suggestions already. However, we would appreciate even more input to make it more comprehensive. If you have any suggestions, send an e-mail to: 

2020 American Association of Geographers Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations to Michael Watts for receiving the 2020 AAG Lifetime Achievement Award for his influential work on ‘political ecology, vulnerability and resilience, agrarian political economy, the social production of famine, oil and development, and environmental justice – all conducted through a fine-grained ethnographic, political, and deeply historical engagement with Nigeria and West Africa’. Read about the award here.
Publications and books

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, 2019, “Indigeneity and Climate Justice in Northern Sweden” in Kum-Kum Bhavnani, John Foran, Priya Kurian, and Debashish Munshi  (eds) Climate Futures:Re-imagining Global Climate Justice, Zed Books. 

Arora-Jonsson, S., Agarwal, S., Colfer, CJP., Keene, S., Kurian, P., Larson, A. (2019) SDG 5: Gender Equality: A Precondition for Sustainable Forestry. In Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and Peoples, 146-177. 2019

Arora-Jonsson, S., Ågren, M. (2019) Bringing Diversity to Nature: Politicizing gender, race and class in environmental organizations? Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 

Belcher, O., Bigger, P., Neimark, B. Kennelly, C. (2019). Hidden carbon costs of the everywhere war: Logistics, geopolitical ecology, and the carbon footprint of the US military. Royal Geographical Society. Regular Paper

Brad, A. and Hein. J. (2019) Die Transnationalisierung von Agrarkonflikten? Globale NGOs, transnationales Kapital und lokaler Widerstand in Sumatra. In: Miessner, M. und M. Naumann (Hrsg.), Kritische Geographien ländlicher Entwicklung. Westfälisches Dampfboot, Münster in Westfalen.

Dondanville, T.W. & Dougherty, M.L. (2019) Porousness and Peru’s moratorium on genetically modified organisms: stakeholder epistemologies and neoliberal science, Environmental Sociology, 

Ernwein, M. 2019. Les natures de la ville néolibérale: Une écologie politique du végétal urbain. Grenoble : UGA Editions. 

Flachs, A.(2019) Cultivating knowledge: Biotechnology, sustainability, and the human cost of cotton capitalism in India. Receive a 30% discount by ordering from here and using the discount code AZFLR.

Hanaček, K., Roy B., Avila, S., and Kallis, G. (2020). Ecological economics and degrowth: Proposing a future research agenda from the margins.Ecological Economicshttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.106495

Klepp, S. and Vafeidis, A. T. (2019): Long-term adaptation planning for sustainable coasts. In: DIE ERDE – Journal of the Geographical Society of Berlin150(3), 113-117.

Klepp, S. and Herbeck, J. (2019): Decentering Climate Change: Perspekiven auf Umweltmigration in Europa und in Ozeanien. In: Knecht, Michi, Römhild, Regina et al. (Hg.) Decentering Europe. Postcolonial, postbloc perspectives for a reflexive European Ethnology. Bielefeld.

Kolinjivadi, V., Vela-Almeida, D., Martineau, J. (2019). Can the planet be saved in Time? On temporalities of socionature, the clock and the limits debate. In Environment and Planning E

Kotsila, Panagiota, and Giorgos Kallis. “Biopolitics of public health and immigration in times of crisis: The malaria epidemic in Greece (2009–2014).” Geoforum 106 (2019): 223-233.

McDermott, C.L., Acheampong, E., Arora-Jonsson, S. (2019) SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – A Political Ecology Perspective. In Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and Peoples, 510-540. 2019

Neimark, B., Osterhoudt S., Blum, L. & Healy, T. (2019) Mob justice and ‘The civilized commodity’The Journal of Peasant Studies

Rauchecker, Markus (2019): “The Territorial and Sectoral Dimensions of Advocacy – The Conflicts about Pesticide Use in Argentina”, in: Political Geography, 75, 102067.

Schubert, H., Rauchecker, M., Caballero Calvo, A., Schütt, B. (2019): “Land Use Changes and their Perception in the Hinterland of Barranquilla, Colombian Caribbean”, in: Sustainability, 11(23), 6729.

Tulaeva, S.A., M.S. Tysiachniouk, L.A. Henry and L.S. Horowitz. 2019. Globalizing extraction and Indigenous rights in the Russian Arctic: The enduring role of the state in natural resource governance. Resources 8(4): 179-199Open access.

Windey, C. & Van Hecken, G.(2019) Contested mappings in a dynamic space: emerging socio-spatial relationships in the context of REDD+. A case from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Landscape Research. Online first. DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2019.1691983
From our friends at Undisciplined Environments

Why Green is Not Enough: Creating Relational Well-Being in Children Through Urban Play Spaces, By Carmen Pérez del Pulgar

Emergenciocracy: why demanding the “climate emergency” is risky, By Giacomo D’Alisa

On Bolivia: For peace, democracy and indigenous-popular self-determination, By Undisciplined Environments*

El pequeño Pödelwitz global resiste, by Emiliano Teran Mantovani

How green gentrification is compromising Seattle’s last affordable neighborhood, By Helen Cole
Conferences, Calls for Papers and Applications

CfA: PhD Course ‘Degrowth in Europe: Foundations in theory and pathways to practice’. Organised by IFRO, held at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark May 11-15 2020. Deadline to apply: 1 February 2020. Read more here.

CfP: Sea Economies: Labour, Infrastructure and New Techno-Environmental Horizons, EASA2020, Lisbon, Portugal 21-24 July, 2020. See full description here

CfP: Folklore, Geography and Anthropology: ways of knowing water / landscape / climate in the Anthropocene, RAI2020: Anthropology and Geography: Dialogues Past, Present and Future, London, UK. 4-7 June, 2020. Read more and submit a paper here.

CfP: Green Criminology in the Anthropocene. One-day Symposium, Northumbria University, 16 January 2020. See details here

CfA: STEPS Centre Summer School on Pathways to Sustainability, Brighton, UK, 11-22 May 2020. Open to PhD and recent post-docs, deadline 26 January. See full details here.

CfP: Ethnographies of energy production in times of transition, 8th Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference, University of Bergamo, Italy. For more information and submission details, click here

Lecture and panel discussion POLLEN2020: Antipode will be staging a lecture and panel discussion in Brighton. We invite presenters who represent both the political commitment and intellectual integrity that characterises the sort of work that appears in the journal. Professor Jun Borras will be our speaker and we’d be delighted if you could join us for his lecture and the panel discussion and reception. 
Blog posts, Articles, Podcasts

Vela-Almeida, D., Kolinjivadi, V., Windey, C., Van Hecken, G., Moreano, M., Kosoy, N. (2019) The Path to net-zero emissions must include divestment, decolonization and resistance. The Conversation

Vela-Almeida, D. (2019). Inside Ecuador’s mass movement against neoliberalism. Rabble

Massarella, K. (2019). What is transformation anyway? Conviva Research

Kolinjivadi, V. (2019) Why a ‘Green New Deal’ must be decolonial. Aljazeera

PODCAST: Benjamin Neimark on the Hidden Carbon Costs of the ‘Everywhere’ War, a report on the Pentagon’s massive carbon footprint, co-authored with Cara Kennelly, Oliver Belcher and Patrick Bigger.
Jobs and Other news

Open Position – Resident Lecturer in Political Ecology, The School for Field Studies, Peru. Download the full job description here.

New M.Phil – From the next academic year, there will be a new M.Phil course in Environmental History at Trinity College Dublin. Admissions for students starting next September are already open. See programme description here

Two tenure-track faculty positions – Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. See details here

Masters by Research – Flower Power: Impacts of photovoltaic solar energy on floral resources for pollinators. Lancaster University. See full position description here.

New Book Promo Film: Our friends at Convivial Conservation have created a great illustrative video about their forthcoming book ‘The Conservation Revolution’. Their network ‘offers a new and integrated approach to understanding and practicing environmental conservation. It is a Whole Earth vision that responds to the major ecological, social and political-economic challenges facing people and biodiversity in the 21st century’. See their video by following this link for English, and this one for Spanish, or see their website here.

Materials from ESRC STEPS Symposium are now available to see on this website. It includes a range of blog posts, articles and podcasts un the Politics of Uncertainty. 

POLLEN Newsletter: November

Dear Pollen Members! While days have shortened and darkened here in Copenhagen, there has been plenty of activity across the Political Ecology network. See the latest publications, blog posts and other news from our nodes in this month’s newsletter! To see all media content and hyperlinks, as well as previous newsletters, follow the link below. Alternatively, you can see the simple text version here.

Best wishes,
POLLEN Secretariat

REMINDER: Posting articles on website

In order to make the newsfeed on the POLLEN website easier to read, we encourage the use of the ‘MORE’ function. This allows long articles to show in a collapsed format, with a ‘Read more’ button that expands the full-length article. Once you have entered the text, put your cursor where you would like the preview to end, and add a block named ‘MORE’.

REMINDER: Documentaries and podcasts

We have added a page to the website that contains a list of documentaries and podcasts in the field of Political Ecology. It is a constantly growing list and we would appreciate input to make it ever more comprehensive. If you have any suggestions, send an e-mail to: politicalecologynetwork@gmail.com


Apostolopoulou, E. Beyond post-politics: Offsetting, depoliticization and contestation in a community struggle against executive housing. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Bormpoudakis, D., Tzanopoulos, J., Apostolopoulou, E. The rise and fall of biodiversity offsetting in the Lodge Hill large-scale housing development, South East England. Environment and Planning E.

Bourblanc, M., Blanchon D. (2019), “Political Ecologies of water in South Africa”, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews-Water, advanced review, 6 (5)

Calvário, Rita; Desmarais, Annette Aurélie; Azkarraga, Joseba (2019), “Solidarities from Below in the Making of Emancipatory Rural Politics: Insights from Food Sovereignty Struggles in the Basque Country”, Sociologia Ruralis

Dedeoğlu, Çağdaş. “Cosmology of the Ergene River Pollution.” Environment & Society Portal, Arcadia (Autumn 2019), no. 38. Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.

Dunlap, Alexander. “Wind, Coal, and Copper: The Politics of Land Grabbing, Counterinsurgency, and the Social Engineering of Extraction.” Globalizations (2019): 1-22

FAO. (2019). Status of community-based forestry and forest tenure in Uganda. Rome.

Fischer, Harry. 2019. Policy innovations for pro-poor climate support: Social protection, small-scale infrastructure, and active citizenship under India’s MGNREGA. Climate and Development.

Greco, E., Apostolopoulou, E. Value, rent and nature: the centrality of class.Dialogues in Human Geography

Menga, F., & Davies, D. (2019). Apocalypse yesterday: Posthumanism and comics in the Anthropocene. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.

Quimbayo Ruiz, G. A. (2019). Territory, sustainability, and beyond: Latin American urbanization through a political ecology. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.

Scoville-Simonds, Morgan, Hameed Jamali, and Marc Hufty. 2020. “The Hazards of Mainstreaming: Climate change adaptation politics in three dimensions.” World Development 125 (January): 104683.

Zografos, C. 2019. Direct Democracy. In: Kothari, A., Salleh, A., Escobar, A., Demaria, F. (eds.). Pluriverse: A Post-development Dictionary. Routledge.

Zografos, C. “Expropriate Zuckerberg!”. Yes, but how? Comment on Dörre, K. ‘Democracy, not Capitalism – or: Expropriate Zuckerberg!’. 2019. In: Ketterer, H., Becker, K. (eds.) Was stimmt nicht mit der Demokratie? Eine Debatte mit Klaus Dörre, Nancy Fraser, Stephan Lessenich und Hartmut Rosa [What’s Wrong With Democracy? A conversation between Nancy Fraser, Klaus Dörre, Stephan Lessenich and Hartmut Rosa]. Suhrkamp.

Development and Change Special Issue 51 (1): Beyond Market Logics: Payments for Ecosystem Services as Alternative Development Practices in the Global South

Shapiro-Garza, Elizabeth, Pamela McElwee, Gert Van Hecken, Esteve Corbera.

Beyond Market Logics: Payments for Ecosystem Services as Alternative Development Practices in the Global South

Corbera, Esteve, Sébastian Costedoat, Driss Ezzine de Blas, Gert Van Hecken. Troubled Encounters: Payments for Ecosystem Services in Chiapas, Mexico.

Greenleaf, Maron. Rubber and Carbon: Opportunity Costs, Incentives and Ecosystem Services in Acre, Brazil.

He, Jun. Situated Payments for Ecosystem Services: Local Agencies in the Implementation of the Sloping Land Conversion Programme in Southwest China.

Joslin, Audrey. Translating Water Fund Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Ecuadorian Andes.

McElwee, Pamela, Bernhard Huber, Thị Hải Vân Nguyễn. Hybrid Outcomes of Payments for Ecosystem Services Policies in Vietnam: Between Theory and Practice.

Nelson, Sara H., Leah L. Bremer, Kelly Meza Prado and Kate A. Brauman. The Political Life of Natural Infrastructure: Water Funds and Alternative Histories of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

Setyowati, Abidah B. Making Territory and Negotiating Citizenship in a Climate Mitigation Initiative in Indonesia.

Shapiro-Garza, Elizabeth. An Alternative Theorization of Payments for Ecosystem Services from Mexico: Origins and Influence.

Upton, Caroline. Conserving Natures? Co‐producing Payments for Ecosystem Services in Mongolian Rangelands.

von Hedemann, Nicolena. Transitions in Payments for Ecosystem Services in Guatemala: Embedding Forestry Incentives into Rural Development Value Systems.

Conferences and Calls for Papers
Session 14, Bioeconomy, Justice and Development Cooperation. More information here.

CfP: Development Days 2020 Conference

Workshop: Urban climate justice in the global South, July 5 to 8, 2020, Nairobi, In collaboration with the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). We are seeking young and socially-engaged scholars who are currently researching and writing about initiatives that advance climate justice (either policy initiatives, or grassroots ones) in urban and rapidly urbanizing areas in this region, to contribute case studies to be presented and further developed at this workshop. The workshop will be preceded by, and partly converge with, a summer school being organized by PACJA (tentative dates June 29-6 tbc), though the application process for the school is separate from this one for the Workshop. The Eligibility criteria are as follows:

– PhD candidate, or PhD from the last 4 years
– Research is on initiatives that advance urban climate justice, and in a particular urban/rapidly urbanizing area of the global South
– Priority will be given to candidates from the global South

Those interested in participating please send CV, a 1-page Statement of Purpose and a 500-word abstract of the research to be presented there to garcial.gustavo@gmail.com. Selected participants could be eligible for travel support. Thus, indicate if you would need partial or full financial support to attend. Deadline for applying is December 6. Selected applicants will be notified by December 23.

CfP: 8th Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference (ERQ) 2020: Ethnographies of energy production in times of transition. University of Bergamo, Bergamo, Italy 3-6 June 2020. We invite contributions on cases from the Global South and North. If you are interested to join our panel, please send an abstract (max 1000 words) including the title of the paper and your affiliation to noura.alkhalili@keg.lu.se, gloria.pessina@polimi.it and erq.conference@unibg.it by January 10th 2020. For more detailed info on submission check this link.

From our friends at ENTITLE

Building the urban commons: links between (non)bounded communities, common spaces and social reproduction, By Sergio Ruiz Cayuela and Chiara Tornaghi

Countering right-wing populism through food sovereignty and “solidarity from below”: an example from the Basque Country, By Rita Calvário, Annette Aurélie Desmarais and Joseba Azkarraga-Etxagibel

The fight against the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies in Ecuador: Lessons for environmental and social justice, By Diana Vela Almeida

La lucha en contra de la eliminación de los subsidios a los combustibles fósiles en Ecuador: Lecciones para la justicia ambiental y social, Por Diana Vela Almeida

Rediscovering the palm oil business in East Kalimantan, By Alexandra Mitsiou

Notes from a feminist writing retreat, By Alice Owen, Anna Voss, Constance Dupuis and Nick Bourguignon

Environmental Justice as a Soundtrack of Freedom, By Julie Sze

Green inequalities in the city: An Introduction to the Series, By Gustavo García López, Isabelle Anguelovski and Ana Cañizares

Green gentrification and the struggles over Denver housing rights, By Margarita Triguero-Mas

Climate crisis and new ecological mobilisations (Part I), By Luigi Pellizzoni

Climate crisis and new ecological mobilizations (Part II), By Luigi Pellizzoni Blocking the Flows. Notes from a climate action in Göteborg, By Salvatore De Rosa

Blog posts and Articles

Dunlap, Alexander (2019) ”Green New Deal Part II: Good, Bad and the Ugly,” Terra Nullius: Repossessing the Existent: 11-11-2019.

Florin, Ian. 2019. La Norvège met les éleveurs de rennes au pas. Le Temps.

Geopolitical Ecologies of Violence and Resistance

Call for Proposals: POLLEN20

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

Session organizers: Benjamin Neimark b.neimark@lancaster.ac.uk & Patrick Bigger, Lancaster University, p.bigger@lancaster.ac.uk; Oliver Belcher, Durham University, oliver.belcher@durham.ac.uk; and Andrea Brock, University of Sussex, A.Brock@sussex.ac.uk

In early October 2019, hundreds of frontline fossil fuel protesters took direct action against hard coal infrastructure across Germany. Under the banner of #deCOALonize, they blockaded railways, ports and utility companies, demanding an end to ‘coal colonialism’ and an immediate phase-out of coal combustion. The state response was predictable: physical violence by police officers, harsh policing and holding protesters for days in custody following nonviolent action. Still making the rounds in the same media cycle was the story of drone strikes targeting the Aramco oil facility in Saudi Aribia, knocking out 50 percent the Saudi’s capacity and 5 percent of global supply. While we generally understand the casual links between fossil fuels and geopolitics, less studied are the direct and indirect geopolitical entanglements of fossil fuel violence – violence against those resisting them, and the inherent violence to humans and ecosystems.

In this session, we look to these events and others as a way to bring together scholars’ understandings of violence, resistance and critical geopolitics of, and through, nature. Beyond direct violence, we also include more entrenched/indirect forms, such as criminalisation, stigmatisation and framings as domestic extremist or eco-terrorism and allowing for looking at more bureaucratic forms of violence, and everyday policing (by non-police – e.g. welfare state, teachers).

We hope to expand on work in geopolitical ecology and other similar frameworks to explore new considerations of contemporary violence and resistance – the role of institutional, state and non-state actors in violent encounters over planetary futures. We also hope to open up our geographic focus of fossil fuels to violence surrounding different forms of energy lock-ins and carbon-based infrastructures and discourses, including alternative energy and financial schemes around carbon trading and exchange. We are also interested in new forms of resistance to fossil-fuelled institutional violence – from digital (e.g., guerrilla archiving, hacktivists) to grassroots student strikes– are now being used to contest against such violence. In doing this, we aim to grapple with the complex picture of what successful resistance might look like. How can diverse coalitions be formed between environmentalists and anti-imperialism activists? How are environmentalists confronting militarism? How are anti-war activists confronting climate change? What political formations can be forged to facilitate a climatically changed future that is just, liveable, and sustainable? How do we envision a world of less violence – environmental and imperial?

Papers in any form may address a broad number of topics related to geopolitical ecologies of violence and resistance, including but not limited to:  

  • Pipelines and pumps
  • Theoretical, empirical, and/or methodological interventions that critically (re)assess the nature-state relationship regarding violence
  • Frontline and back-end resistance, from ‘tree-huggers’ to eco-hacktivists
  • Resistance to eco-state restructuring under multiple ‘Green New Dealings’
  • Paramilitarities and ‘ramping up’ by non-states
  • Climate change adaptation/mitigation, statecraft, and security
  • New hegemonies of ‘green’ political-economic power
  • ‘Green’ developmentalism and violent dispossession
  • War/violence and biodiversity/resource conservation
  • Settler-colonial environmentalisms
  • Financing violence through MDBs or transnational banks
  • Links between ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ violence

Please send abstract of 250 words or less to Ben Neimark, b.neimark@lancaster.ac.uk by November 4th 2019.

CfP POLLEN20 – Irrigation issues in emerging economies

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

Session organisers

This session is being organized by Adnan Mirhanoglu (adnan.mirhanoglu@kuleuven.be) and Maarten Loopmans (Maarten.Loopmans@kuleuven.be). Please submit abstracts between 250 and 500 words and full contact details to both organizers by the 28 of October 2019 15 of November 2019

Session description

In countries like China, India, Turkey, Brazil, Ethiopia, rapid social and economic changes are affecting the countryside. Rural-to-urban migration, agricultural modernization and the emergence of new economic sectors are all changing the demography and socio-economic relations in rural areas. Whereas new large scale irrigation projects create social, environmental and political tensions on their own (Madramootoo and Fyles, 2010; Boelens, Shah & Bruins, 2019), traditional irrigation systems are equally facing new challenges, as demands for water change, climate change is affecting availability, new water users appear on the scene, and political and infrastructural changes are demanding new forms of water governance (Gany, Sharma & Singh, 2019). In this session, we want to discuss and theorize the particular issues, conflicts and challenges related to irrigation water governance in emerging economies.

Irrigation systems have always been fraught with power imbalances and conflicts of interest, and poses particular theoretical challenges to theory-making (.e.g Ostrom & Gardner, 1993). Present-day socio-economic  transitions exacerbate these tensions, and presents us with new practical and theoretical dilemma’s (Playan, Sagardoy & Castillo, 2018; Ahlborg & Nightingale, 2018;) which we hope to discuss in this session. We invite both theoretical and empirical papers on irrigation governance and economic expansion in emerging economies. We are particularly keen on discussing multiscalar analyses linking interpersonal, water network and national/global political economy. The following topics (non-exhaustive) can be considered:

  • small and large scale irrigation infrastructures and water justice
  • head- and tail-ender conflicts under global market pressure
  • gendered and racialized politics of irrigation
  • infrastructural modernization and changing power relations
  • climate change, land use change and irrigation politics


Ahlborg, H. and A.J. Nightingale 2018. Theorizing power in political ecology: the where of power in resource governance projects. Journal of Political Ecology 25: 381-401.

Boelens, R., A. Shah & B. Bruins (2019) Contested knowledges: large dams and mega-hydraulic development, Water 11: 416-443.

Gany, A. H. A., Sharma, P., & Singh, S. (2019). Global Review of Institutional Reforms in the Irrigation Sector for Sustainable Agricultural Water Management, Including Water Users’ Associations. Irrigation and Drainage68(1), 84-97.

Harris, L. M. (2006). Irrigation, gender, and social geographies of the changing waterscapes of southeastern Anatolia. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space24(2), 187-213.

Madramootoo, C. A., & Fyles, H. (2010). Irrigation in the context of today’s global food crisis. Irrigation and Drainage: The journal of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage59(1), 40-52.

Ostrom, Elinor, Roy Gardner. (1993) “Coping with Assymetries in the Commons: Self-Governing Irrigation Systems Can Work”. Journal of Economic Perspectives – Vol 7, Number 4, pp.93-112.

Playán, E., Sagardoy, J., & Castillo, R. (2018). Irrigation governance in developing countries: Current problems and solutions. Water10(9), 1118.

Köpke, S., Withanachchi, S. S., Pathiranage, R., Withanachchi, C. R., & Ploeger, A. (2019). Social–ecological dynamics in irrigated agriculture in dry zone Sri Lanka: a political ecology. Sustainable Water Resources Management5(2), 629-637.


CfP POLLEN20 – Towards a political ecology of renewable energy

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

Session organizers: Stephanie Borchardt, Boitumelo Malope, and Michela Marcatelli, Stellenbosch University

Session abstract

Calls for a rapid transition to renewable energy as a solution to climate change and ecological crisis are currently rampant and across the board, from the US Senate, where the Green New Deal is being debated, to the streets of many countries around the world, where the social movements Extinction Rebellion and Fridays For Future have been protesting. Most of the time, however, these calls fail to recognize how renewables are deeply embedded in a system of capital accumulation powered by fossil fuels and how they too contribute to its reproduction.

Recent years have also seen a resurgence of interest in engaging with renewable energy from a critical perspective, also within the field of political ecology (Lawrence 2014; McCarthy 2015; Avila 2017; Siamanta 2017; Dunlap 2018a, 2018b; Franquesa 2018; Hornborg, Cederlof and Roos 2019; McCarthy and Thatcher 2019; Siamanta 2019). This scholarship has focused on the processes of appropriation, dispossession, and displacement  ̶  but also resistance  ̶  that underpin the ‘green’ energy transition. For instance, McCarthy (2015) argues that such transition constitutes a ‘socio-ecological fix’ to capitalism’s inherent tendency to crisis, whereby new processes of commodification remake socio-natures for the purpose of sustaining further capital accumulation. In this sense, then, renewable energy is better understood through the lens of land and green grabbing. Furthermore, Dunlap (2018b) has coined the phrase ‘fossil fuel+’ to capture the dependency of utility-scale renewable energy on fossil fuels, especially for the production, installation, and maintenance of new, green energy infrastructure.

This session aims at taking stock of current research on renewables (wind, solar, and geothermal) in the Global North and the Global South with a view to rethink a political ecology of renewable energy. We therefore invite papers that address the following questions, among others:

  • Whose land is targeted for renewable energy production and who decides?
  • What are the socio-environmental consequences of such land-use change, especially in terms of rural labour and livelihoods?
  • How is renewable energy contested?
  • What is the role of the state in supporting the green energy transition, both materially and discursively? 
  • Who is investing in renewable energy and what is the role of financial capital?
  • How does renewable energy contribute to energy security and to reducing inequality in energy access?
  • How does the green energy transition intersect with historical processes of marginalization and dispossession?

If you would like to join this discussion, please send your paper abstract (max. 250 words) to mmarcatelli@sun.ac.za by October 27.


Avila, S. (2017) ‘Contesting energy transitions: Wind power and conflicts in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec’, Journal of Political Ecology 24(1): 992-1012.

Dunlap, A. (2018a) ‘Counterinsurgency for wind energy: The Bíi Hioxo wind park in Juchitán, Mexico’, The Journal of Peasant Studies 45(3): 630-652.

Dunlap, A. (2018b) ‘End the “green” delusions: Industrial-scale renewable energy is fossil fuel+’, Verso Blog, May 10, 2018. Available at: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3797-end-the-green-delusions-industrial-scale-renewable-energy-is-fossil-fuel.

Franquesa, J. (2018) Power struggles: Dignity, value, and the renewable energy frontier in Spain. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hornborg, A., G. Cederlöf and A. Roos (2019) ‘Has Cuba exposed the myth of “free” solar power? Energy, space, and justice’, Environment and Planning E 2(4): 989-1008.

Lawrence, R. (2014) ‘Internal colonisation and indigenous resource sovereignty: Wind power developments on traditional Saami lands’, Environment and Planning D 32(6): 1036-1053.

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