CfP POLLEN20 – Land, environment and nature: politics of resources*

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

*This session is part of ‘Conversations between political ecology and critical agrarian studies’, a series of six linked sessions that will explore complementarities and tensions between political ecology and critical agrarian studies in relation to land, energy, environment and nature, degrowth, green economies and agrarian struggles and agrarian and environmental movements. 

Session organizer

Charles-Alexis Couvreur (University of Oxford). Please send abstracts of 250 words of less to no later than November22nd.

Session description

Critical agrarian studies has focused on land as the central resource for agrarian production, driving the dynamics of accumulation. However, as with much scholarship originating in Marxist thought, it has been widely critiqued for its failure to engage with environmental questions more broadly. As the ‘environment’ is itself a contested and multi-layered notion, we are interested in further fleshing out how non-human ‘natures’ interact with processes of agrarian change and, more broadly, capital accumulation in rural settings with the following questions:

  • How can the role of nature(s) be incorporated into a re-theorisation of agrarian/rural economy dynamics?
  • Can diverse knowledge systems recast conventional understandings of the relationships between people, production and nature?
  • What are the political and ontological implications of ‘greening’ conventional understandings of agrarian/rural capitalistic transformations?

Contributions from wider rural settings (e.g. fisheries) and disciplinary realms (e.g. geography, anthropology) are particularly encouraged too, for the complementary light they shed on the importance of nature(s) in the multiple processes of capital accumulation that still need to be further unpacked.

CfP POLLEN20 – How can agrarian movements address the global food and environmental crises?*

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

*This session is part of ‘Conversations between political ecology and critical agrarian studies’, a series of six linked sessions that will explore complementarities and tensions between political ecology and critical agrarian studies in relation to land, energy, environment and nature, degrowth, green economies and agrarian struggles and agrarian and environmental movements. 

Session organizer

Thomas Cooper-Patriota ((Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex). Please send abstracts of 250 words of less to no later than November 22nd.

Session description

Peasants, agricultural workers, middle farmers, indigenous peoples – alternatively referred to as ‘small-scale food producers’, ‘peasants and other people living in rural areas’, or ‘peasant and indigenous family farmers’ make up close to 40% of the world’s population. Women and men of all ages involved in small-scale agriculture, pastoralism, fishery, or forestry activities, predominantly living in the Global South, still make up the planet’s largest labouring constituency. They are also the most vigorously organised, with the decline of industrial labour unions since the 1980s, and the rise of transnational agrarian movements since the 1990s.

Yet, the last decades have seen an increasing concentration of production, processing and distribution processes in the hands of a reduced number of agri-food giants across largely unaccountable and often predatory ‘global value chains’ reproducing and accentuating core-periphery dependency. Peasant movements mobilising their energy in influencing non-binding international treaties (CFS Tenure Guidelines, UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants), campaigns (International Year and Decade of Family Farming) and goals (SDGs) have drawn attention to their causes and mobilized policy momentum with significant achievements in some areas of the world. This has partly been possible by demonstrating that peasant family farmers are responsible for the production of most of the world’s food and the main stewards for sustainable use of natural resources, despite representing the majority of the world’s undernourished and most vulnerable populations to climate change, biodiversity loss, and soil degradation.

Nevertheless, most national government budgets and strategies – let alone international trade and financial flows – still remain oblivious to people living in rural areas, whom they by and large perceive as reserve armies of cheap labour. Though increasing portions of urban populations begin to perceive peasants/family farmers as part of the solution to the global food and environmental crises, we are still very far from a paradigm shift.

This panel will look at experiences highlighting relationships between agrarian movement action and significant policy change. It will relatedly explore how agrarian movement policy drives towards economic, social and environmental sustainability may contribute in shaping the contours of a post-neoliberal era.

CfP POLLEN20 – Renewable Energies and Agrarian Change: Contestations over Low Carbon Investments*

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

*This session is part of ‘Conversations between political ecology and critical agrarian studies’, a series of six linked sessions that will explore complementarities and tensions between political ecology and critical agrarian studies in relation to land, energy, environment and nature, degrowth, green economies and agrarian struggles and agrarian and environmental movements. 

Session organizer

Gerardo A. Torres Contreras (Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex). Please send abstracts of 250 words of less to no later than November22nd.

Session description

Renewable Energies are expected to play a significant role in the energetic transition towards the development of greener energy production systems. Climate change mitigation investments are supposed to reduce environmental degradations related to fossil fuels, ensure energy security and to foster both economic and social development. However, these transitions have to be situated in the local time and space.

With this in mind, little attention has been put to the role renewable energies play out in land dynamics and land use change because of the ‘materialities’ of these projects. Only in wind energy projects, for instance, infrastructure only occupies between 5 to 7 percent of the total extension of land required for a project. This means that not only the land within the wind farm projects remains productive while windmills harvest energy but that also we assist to processes of agrarian change resulting from these new land dynamics.

The energetic transition, in this sense, draws attention to the need for land and the pressures that such spatial requirement exert on rural lands and people by displacing or hindering existing or alternative land uses (Huber and McCarthy, 2017, p. 11). In this sense, it is worth exploring the following questions:

  • How do politics around renewable energies interact with land dynamics?
  • How do they foster or undermine patterns of accumulation within and across host communities?
  • How are these dynamics associated with processes of class formation and social differentiation?
  • How are they modifying local relations of production?

CfP POLLEN20 – Lost in transition? Capturing the impacts of conservation and development interventions on relational values and human well-being in the forested tropics

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

Session organizers

Rachel Carmenta (University of Cambridge), Julie G. Zaehringer (University of Bern, CH) & Judith Schleicher (University of Cambridge). Please submit your abstract (Max 250 words) to Rachel Carmenta (, Julie G. Zaehringer ( and Judith Schleicher ( by midnight (GMT) on Thursday 21st November.

Session description

Around the world tropical landscapes are in transition. Perhaps nowhere more so than in the forest frontiers of the global south. From Indonesian peat swamp forests to the arc of deforestation in Northern Brazil, landscape change is rapid, drastic and driven by distant claims on land connecting disparate geographies (Liu et al, 2013). The rate of change has catalysed a number of interventions for mitigating further forest loss, reversing past legacies and for reforesting lands at large scales. These conservation and development interventions follow particular strategies (e.g. agricultural intensification, renewable energy projects, and forest conservation and restoration) which influence, modify and in some cases recast access, use and the rights of rural communities to the land and to resources. Although recent and increasing pressure has been placed on conservation and development interventions to assess and monitor their impact, the metrics of such appraisals are often externally derived and follow standardized criteria (e.g. Oldekop et al, 2016). Notably, particular dimensions of place-based realities often remain invisible in conventional evaluation approaches, creating the space for environmental injustices to go unrecognized. These include the non-material flows from nature to people, such as the place-based attachments (including the emotive bonds to place, the identities derived from place and the dependence on place) and relational values that may be prioritized locally, yet remain largely unmeasured (Chan et al, 2016). The relationship between place and the multi-dimensionality of locally defined human well-being is often overlooked in favour of standardised approaches (McKinnon et al, 2016). These approaches emphasize objective instead of subjective and relational measures, particularly within the conservation and development sectors. This lack of recognition explains how little is known about the ways in which environment and development interventions and landscape change impacts the relationship between people and place (Rasmussen et al, 2018). The invisibility of place-based values, precludes the contribution of people to co-designing their futures partly because ‘what gets measured gets pursued’ (Jacobs et al, 2018). It also ignores the distributional impacts of the lived reality of landscape change- including those induced through interventions- in a telecoupled world (Ellis et al, 2019; Boillat et al, 2018). Plural valuation processes can inform more equitable intervention strategies and give recognition to the values that matter for place-based alternatives to mainstream development (Zafra-Calvo et al, in review). Further, plural valuation can give voice to those often most marginalized when relational values are omitted. This session will draw together contemporary research that addresses this emerging area in the conservation and land sciences, and illustrate the diverse impacts of landscape changes and intervention strategies at the forest agricultural nexus. Such insights are necessary for dialogue, transparency and to move towards a more equitable and just Anthropocene. In this session, we will present a number of unique approaches to evaluations and quantification of relational values and human wellbeing and present leading contemporary academic, policy, and practitioner approaches that offer ways forward towards equitable and sustainable futures. The contributions are concerned with the contested frontier landscapes of the forested tropics in the global south.


Boillat, S., Gerber, J. D., Oberlack, C., Zaehringer, J. G, Ifejika Speranza, C., & Rist, S. (2018). Distant interactions, power, and environmental justice in protected area governance: A telecoupling perspective. Sustainability10(11), 3954.

Chan, K. M., Balvanera, P., Benessaiah, K., Chapman, M., Díaz, S., Gómez-Baggethun, E., … & Luck, G. W. (2016). Opinion: Why protect nature? Rethinking values and the environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences113(6), 1462-1465.

Ellis, E. C., Pascual, U., & Mertz, O. (2019). Ecosystem services and nature’s contribution to people: negotiating diverse values and trade-offs in land systems. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability38, 86-94.

Jacobs, S., Martín-López, B., Barton, D. N., Dunford, R., Harrison, P. A., Kelemen, E., … & Kopperoinen, L. (2018). The means determine the end–Pursuing integrated valuation in practice. Ecosystem services29, 515-528.

Liu, J., Hull, V., Batistella, M., DeFries, R., Dietz, T., Fu, F., … & Martinelli, L. A. (2013). Framing sustainability in a telecoupled world. Ecology and Society18(2).

McKinnon, M. C., Cheng, S. H., Dupre, S., Edmond, J., Garside, R., Glew, L., … & Oliveira, I. (2016). What are the effects of nature conservation on human well-being? A systematic map of empirical evidence from developing countries. Environmental Evidence5(1), 8.

Oldekop, J. A., Holmes, G., Harris, W. E., & Evans, K. L. (2016). A global assessment of the social and conservation outcomes of protected areas. Conservation Biology30(1), 133-141.

Rasmussen, L. V., Coolsaet, B., Martin, A., Mertz, O., Pascual, U., Corbera, E., … & Ryan, C. M. (2018). Social-ecological outcomes of agricultural intensification. Nature Sustainability1(6), 275-282.

Zafra-Calvo, N; Balvanera, P; Pascual, U; Merçon, J; Martin-Lopez, B; van Noordwijk, M; Mwampamba, T; Lele, S; Ifejika Speranza, C; Arias-Arevalo, P; Diego, C; Caceres, D; O`Farrell, P; Subramanian, Suneetha M; Soubadra, Di; Krishnan, S; Carmenta, R; Guibrunet, L; Elsin, Y K; Moersberger, H; Cariño, J; Diaz, S. Plural valuation of nature for equity and sustainability: Insights from the Global South. In review. Global Environmental Change.

POLLEN20 storytelling session proposal – Facing authoritarian designs: our emotions, trajectories and methodological reinventions among political ontologies

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

Session organizers

Marco Malagoli (Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brasil) and Lúcia Fernandes (Centro de Estudos Sociais,  Portugal). Please send abstracts of 250 words or less to and no later than November 21st.

Session description

At the present global context with a new wave of neoliberal violences anchored in democratic crisis, worldwide elites propose once again authoritarism as a consensual value and the solution for the presumed social order, giving support to (neo)colonial geopolitcal reinventions – and their “glocalized” systemical forces. With this background a greater reinvention effort of our research and militant agendas is asked, in order to let us be opened to other connections, subjectivities, knowledges, strategies, praxis, network actions and agencies… to go on in the fight for other social transformative models.

The sociabilities, knowledges, memories, innovations and confrontations promoted by the political ecology (PE) offer relevant pathways to rethink our praxis in the world. We desire that they are intertwined multi dimensionally (institutional spaces, temporalities), from renewed epistemological and ontological matrixes.

We invite our participants to put into context their narratives through one or more of the diverse PEs. Among them, we would like to generate discussions from latino-american PEs, urban PEs and feminist PEs, all understood as (radical) contributions that go to the roots of actual dilemmas, focusing the many ways of oppression still concentrated on the (geopolitical, symbolic, intersectional) “South”, such as dominant urbanities and their problematic imaginaries, the subjugation and erasing attempts of subversive/rebel/different othernesses. Such PE currents seem to point out consistent and defying praxiological concepts and strategies to strengthen the militancies, at the same time that they point out for a major empiric-methodological commitment (like in David Harvey and Erik Swyngedouw), a best acknowledgment of the sociocultural diversity of ontological designs (the pluriverses by Arturo Escobar), and the possibility that we can recognize a major complexity by considering the humans/non-humans/super-humans hybrid agencies (as the cyborgs by Donna Haraway).

How the renewed – mainly due to social activisims – notions of praxis, design and agency are contributing to the (re)connection, (re)invention and strengthening of our militancies? How every researcher (re)elaborates her/his praxiological categories and alterities (behind the curtains) in the middle of new threats and emergent solidarities? Until which point we can act and be “not so western”, “not so purely humans”, “not so white and male” in our theoretical-methodological proposals (both academic and political ones)? What other senses and forces we could put into play as to reach, this way, our empirical approaches on environmental conflicts, disasters, social cartographies, pollutions/epidemics, spoliations, imaginaries, socio-ecological militancies, class/gender/ethnic violences, de(re)territorializations, assassination of community leaders, coups d´etat, and dictatorships?

This way we call our participants to review the methodological situations and contexts of their research investigations and militancies, in order that we can reflect alltogether on the heuristic power and limitations of these and other approaches of the PEs, to project – and asking for – a new horizon of new design of transformative praxis. And for that, we suggest a not-fragmented review of our biographies, with their baggage of intuitions and emotions, discoveries, solidarities, utopias, precarities and anxieties (normally wasted by actual academy and politics).

CfP POLLEN20 – The Enemy of Kinship & Kinship with the Enemies: Beyond Invasive Species and Ecosystem Services Parasites

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

Session organizers

Please send your abstracts by the 21st of November to Karin Ahlberg, Stockholm University ( and Panos Kompatsiaris, Higher School of Economics, Moscow (

Session description

In his book the ‘Metamorphoses of Kinship’ (2011), the anthropologist Maurice Godelier speaks about the transformations and shifts in the kinship structures of modern Western societies. Departing from an understanding of kinship based on blood and reproduction, Godelier argues, modern societies gradually move to more open and extensive kinship networks beyond the confines of the biological contract. For Godelier then, this fluidity/ expansion of kinship relations is expressed in the rise of divorces, same sex partnerships, surrogate pregnancies and generally relations in which the levels of proximities are not necessarily dictated by ‘blood’. The socialization of animals and their increasing placement within human proximities can be seen as part of the same process of expanding kinship structures.

With this session we would like to explore and interrogate this opening of kinship networks as it leaks out beyond the human to include animals, microbes and plants, as companions and pets, or simply as entangled codependents of human life and earthly cohabitants. In many ways, the moral mandate for this opening has recently been proposed by several theorists as a question of justice. For instance, from her Species Companion Manifesto in 2003 to her recent Staying with Trouble, Donna Haraway puts forward the idea of ‘making kin’ with non-human others as an ethical imperative based on what Cary Wolfe calls an ‘ethics of compassion’ (2010: 41). Furthermore, Wolfe’s own call for ‘trans-species affinities’ (2010), Timothy  Morton’s call for ‘solidarity’ (2017) or Rosi Braidotti’s call for ‘cross species affection’ (2013) are some of the instances when this ethical mandate for compassion translates to a certain dispensing with the human while kinship networks expand. Yet, other forms of living with the others and through extended codependent networks of life—beyond categories of human exceptionalism, culture over nature, domesticated and wild, free and exploited—have long been practices by indigenous populations as well as other species (MacCormack and Strathern 1980, Ingold 1986, cf. Decola 2013), practices and scholarship that constitute the backbone of these latest trends.

Together, this line of work has also unveiled the anthropocentric tendency that underpins analyses of ecosystems in terms of the ‘services’ they provide, or the labor that plants and animals perform for human benefits, profits or landscape engineering (Orion 2015). The problematic inherent in kinship hierarchies and landscape engineering is most visible in the frameworks that render native species (or close kin) as ‘good’ compare to alien and, in particular, invasive species that are  labelled and treated as threatening outsides (Ticktin 2017). Worldwide, organizations and policies engage in pesticide, herbicide and other forms of more, and less, benign warfare against especially foreign supposedly harmful species, often with the pretext to save other species (Kompatsiaris 2018). Under the ‘gendered pretext’ (Hage 2003) to restore and care for damaged ecosystems, a range of killing techniques (-cides) are used – chemical methods, burning or catching and killing – with the result that not only the unwanted other but other species are put at risk (Orion 2015).

This panel sets to explore kinship with the so called ‘enemy’ or ‘subaltern non-human other,’ that critically engage with practices of entangled life beyond the perhaps biggest enemy of the kinship concept – that of false proximity and nativeness.

  • We seek papers that examine how the ethical imperative for kinship and compassion with non-human otherness works via the figure of the parasite, the unwanted species and the invader. The figure of the parasite poses a dialectical intrusion to the affirmative theories of animal love by reinserting antagonism and at the same time opens up the possibility of new forms of coexistence and theorizing life on earth.
  • We seek contributions outside the paradigm of bloodline species-bound kinship and that of ‘invasion ecology’. We are interested in research that reveals insights into ‘unintended’ co-living, eco-symbiosis, syn-poesis or simply love beyond the confines of blood and species kin, that investigates the entangled becoming of mobile and less mobile species and matters in a changing world, or that illustrates how new combinations and lives appear – with, against and beyond human-made categories of us and them, native and foreign.
  • We also welcome contributions that critically engage with interventions in ecosystems in the name of biodiversity or salvage stewardship. In addition, scholarship on exploitation of non-humans species as laborers, for human wellbeing, profit and vision of ideal landscapes are also appreciated.

In sum, we seek research that allows us to see the already practiced entangled becoming beyond kinship as nativeness and blood.


Braidotti, R. (2013) The Post-Human. Cambridge: Polity Press

Descola, P (2013) Beyond nature and culture. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Hage, G. (2003). Against paranoid nationalism: Searching for hope in a shrinking society. Annandale, NSW.: Pluto Press.

Haraway, D. (2003) Species Companion Manifesto: Dogs, People and Significant Otherness. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Haraway,  D. (2016) Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press

Godelier, M. (2011) The Metamorphoses of Kinship. London: Verso

Ingold, T. (1986). The appropriation of nature: Essays on human ecology and social relations. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Kompatsiaris, P. (2018) “Aliens in the Mediterranean Sea: Monstrous Fish and the (Im)Possibilities of Kinship with Non-Human Others” The Enemy, 1.

MacCormack, C. P., & Strathern, M. (1980). Nature, culture, and gender. Cambridge [Eng.]; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Morton, T. (2017) Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People. London: Verso

Orion, T. (2015) Beyond the war on invasive species: A permaculture approach to ecosystem restoration. Chelsea Green Publishing.

Ticktin, M. (2017). “Invasive others: Toward a contaminated world.” Social Research: An International Quarterly, 84(1), xxi-xxxiv.

Wolfe, C. (2010) What is Posthumanism? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press

CfP POLLEN20 – Contested Waters and Fluid Properties in Capitalist Natures

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

Session organizers

Camelia Dewan (University of Oslo), Knut G Nustad (University of Oslo). Please send your abstract of 250 words by Monday 18th November (17 CET) to and k.g.nustad@sai.uio. We will respond to submissions by 20th November.

Session Description

While much has been written about enclosure of land for conservation as well as exploitation, much less has been written about enclosures of water worlds, both river systems and oceanic.  For oceans, the term “ocean grabbing” has been used to describe these enclosures as actions, policies or initiatives that deprive small-scale fishers of resources, dispossess vulnerable populations of coastal lands, and/or undermine historical access to areas of the sea (Barbesgaard 2018; McCormack 2017), but similar enclosures also take part in fresh water worlds.

For enclosures of these kinds on land, the concept of the Plantationocene has been proposed for ‘the devastating transformation of diverse kinds of human-tended farms, pastures, and forests into extractive and enclosed plantations, relying on slave labor and other forms of exploited, alienated, and usually spatially transported labor’  (Haraway 2015). While the term succeeds in displacing universal man, and making visible (racialised) power relations and economic, environmental and social inequalities in the ruins of global capitalism, its focus retains a bias toward land.

Unlike land, water is not a fixed property, nor does it have fixed properties. The fluid qualities that enable water to connect, means that it can also be a major medium for pollution and a threat when overly abundant. And, being essential to all productive processes, it can readily become a means of control and domination (Krause and Strang 2013).

Water is integral for the production of capitalist natures. At the same time, contested waters highlight how it is (mis)used and inadvertently at the receiving end of the toxic flows of capitalist extraction in ways that threaten liveability of our very planet. What, then the session asks, does the qualities of water matter to processes of plantation-making, the production of capitalist natures, on the 70 percent of the globe covered by water?

Bringing together political ecologies of water with environmental ethnographies focusing on the materialities of water, we welcome contributions that discuss to what extent, if at all, the Plantationocene can be useful in theorising contested waters with its fluid properties.

We invite papers that address one of the following, or related, questions:

  • How does the nature of water enable or hinder its translation as a resource?
  • How does the flow of water distinguish it from other resources?
  • How are processes of scaling up different in aquatic and land-based enclosures?
  • How is property in landscapes marked by flow and movement different from property rights in land?
  • In what ways do water act both as commodity and as a means of production?
  • Can fisheries/other mono aquacultures be scaled in the same way as other plantation systems?
  • What are the restrictions of the Plantationocene in conceptualising capitalist modes of production dependent on, and situated alongside, waterbodies (such as factories, shipbuilding/breaking yards, mines) and their toxic entanglements with [aquatic] livelihoods?
  • What are the limits of Marxist theory of property rights in capturing contemporary processes of the production of capitalist water worlds?

Depending on the number of paper submissions, we may propose this session as a three-hour workshop.

If you have any other questions, please do get in touch with us.


 Bakker, Karen. 2012. ‘Water: Political, Biopolitical, Material’. Social Studies of Science 42 (4): 616–23.

Barbesgaard, Mads. 2018. ‘Blue Growth: Savior or Ocean Grabbing?’ The Journal of Peasant Studies 45 (1): 130–49.

Budds, Jessica, Jamie Linton, and Rachael McDonnell. 2014. ‘The Hydrosocial Cycle’.

Geoforum 57 (November): 167–69

Haraway, Donna 2015. ‘Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin’ . Environmental Humanities, vol. 6, 2015, pp. 159-165.

Krause, Franz, and Veronica Strang. 2013. ‘Introduction to Special Issue: “Living Water”’. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology 17 (2): 95–102.

McCormack, Fiona. 2017. Private Oceans: The Enclosure and Marketisation of the Seas. London: Pluto Press.​