CfP POLLEN20 – Convivial conservation: approaches for linking social and environmental justice

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

Session organizers

Laila Thomaz Sandroni (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil) and Judith Krauss (University of Sheffield, UK).

Please submit your proposals for paper titles and abstracts (250 words max) with full contact details by Wednesday, 13 November 2019, to Judith Krauss: We look forward to hearing from you!

Session description

Growing concerns regarding widespread biodiversity loss, a rapidly changing climate and increasing socio-economic inequalities have prompted widespread calls for transformative change in the governance of socio-environmental relations.

In biodiversity conservation, different proposals have been put forward, including Half Earth (Wilson, 2016) and ‘New Conservation’ (Marvier, Kareiva and Lalasz, 2012), which champion reserving half the earth for conservation and embracing market-based approaches to conservation, respectively. These proposals have triggered heated debates about the fundamental aims and purpose of conservation, yet have also opened up spaces for contemplating radical approaches.

However, many of these ‘radical’ approaches do not challenge the underlying political and economic systems that are at the root of the global conservation challenges we face. Consequently, they do not deliver genuine transformations, failing to question the global market drivers of environmental and social destruction or promote a more equal voice for the communities living on a daily basis with human-wildlife conflict. By contrast, the recently proposed ‘convivial conservation’ approach (Büscher and Fletcher, 2019) pursues structural changes as well as grassroots solutions by collaborating with actors often marginalised in mainstream conservation approaches. In order  to promote co-existence, (bio)diversity and justice especially around apex predators, it draws on insights from both social sciences (e.g. Brockington, Duffy and Igoe, 2008) and natural sciences (e.g. Marchini, Ferraz et al., 2019).

This session aspires to flesh out further the theoretical tenets and practical proposals of convivial conservation. The aim is to reflect on where to situate convivial conservation in the broader conceptual debate on socio-environmental relations and transformations against the backdrop of new conservation, half earth and community conservation, as well as broader political dynamics favouring Northern, nationalistic or profit-oriented pursuits which deny, ignore and thus exacerbate socio-environmental degradation. At the same time, it also hopes to outline ways forward for convivial conservation research to make a difference for co-existence and justice in practice. We seek to engage panel presenters and listeners in a conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of this idea of convivial conservation as well as its potential for application to other spheres of life.

Possible questions asked and discussed might include:

  • What possibilities and challenges are there in promoting conviviality between humans and nonhumans, conceptually and empirically?
  • How are convivial conservation ideas materializing in practice?
  • How does convivial conservation relate to other on-the-ground experiences of conservation involving co-existence in the face of human-wildlife conflict?
  • How can a convivial conservation approach engage with the increasingly violent and authoritarian ecological politics on the rise in many places?

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 ( and Maarten Loopmans ( 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: Women and Gender Equity in Agriculture

[Call for Papers: Dimensions of Political Ecology conference, University of Kentucky, February 23-24, 2018]

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Women & Gender Equity in Agriculture: A Dialogue on Agrarian Feminism

Women have always, of course, been leaders in family farm operations, though this leadership has long been erased, demeaned, and thwarted. Gender-based biases in agriculture unfold differently across contexts and times, with patriarchy working alongside and through place-specific dynamics of racism, classism, ageism, and ethno-nationalism. Yet, parallels emerge: dominant agro-industrial models and markets have excluded women, even as they have made use of women’s work, skills and knowledge, in an exploitative ‘feminization’ of devalued agricultural labor. To counter such longstanding disparities and discrimination, the transnational agrarian movements, notably La Via Campesina, are foregrounding feminism in their global activism. They are reclaiming the term and re-grounding it in the lived struggles, experiences, and visions of women and men across rural and urban contexts. This entails acknowledging and uplifting, celebrating and expanding female–and particularly women-of-color–leadership in farms, fields, food forests, gardens, fisheries, urban plots, community organizations, and political institutions the world over. It also entails asserting that agricultural viability necessitates ending violence against women and LGBTQ communities, and ending racism and coloniality. These are bold, important goals. How does this multi-faceted, robust call for agrarian feminism/womanism play out in different contexts? What political ecology scholarship and community-scholar partnerships are needed?

feminism and food sovereignty

This double session continues a Dimensions of Political Ecology tradition of merging academic and practitioner analyses of agrarian issues. This year, the scholarly session will bring researchers, faculty, and students together to share original scholarship on the topic of women leadership, intersectional agrarian feminism, and gender-equity in agriculture. The current demographic shifts in the US, for instance, are bringing forth more female principal operators. Can policy, extension, and markets catch up? What are the constraints to gender and racial equity in land tenure–in the US and elsewhere? We invite original research, social theory interventions, methodological reflections, decolonial strategies, literature reviews, datasets, legal and policy analysis, geographies, histories, political ecologies, and political economies–all to help shed light on this important subject.

After a round of scholarly information, analysis, and discussion, we’ll embark upon the practitioner panel. We are fortunate to have a number of Kentucky and Appalachia-based women farmers, community leaders, and advocates sharing their experiences and expertise in this roundtable. We envision this double-session as an interactive space of dialogue, mutual learning, and community-building. Join us.

If you are interested in participating, please send a 250-word abstract to Garrett ( by December 1, 2017.

Organizers: Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Heather Hyden, Padini Nirmal, Cassia Herron