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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/15387216.2020.1795700

Green development or greenwashing? A political ecology perspective on China’s green Belt and Road

04 Mar 2021-Eurasian Geography and Economics (Routledge)-Vol. 62, Iss: 2, pp 202-226
Abstract: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – China’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure program across 138 countries and counting – has provoked concern among observers that China is exporting its pollut...

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Topics: Greenwashing (63%), Green belt (56%), Green development (55%) ... show more
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Open access
01 Jan 2010-
Abstract: This and the subsequent papers in this special issue set out the contours of Marxian urban political ecology and call for greater research attention to a neglected field of critical research that, given its political importance, requires urgent attention. Notwithstanding the important contributions of other critical perspectives on urban ecology, Marxist urban political ecology provides an integrated and relational approach that helps untangle the interconnected economic, political, social and ecological processes that together go to form highly uneven and deeply unjust urban landscapes. Because the power-laden socioecological relations that shape the formation of urban environments constantly shift between groups of actors and scales, historical-geographical insights into these ever-changing urban configurations are necessary for the sake of considering the future of radical political-ecological urban strategies. The social production of urban environments is gaining recognition within radical and historical-materialist geography. The political programme, then, of urban political ecology is to enhance the democratic content of socioenvironmental construction by identifying the strategies through which a more equitable distribution of social power and a more inclusive mode of environmental production can be achieved.

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Topics: Political ecology (61%), Reprint (58%), Politics (54%) ... show more

768 Citations



Open accessJournal Article
01 Jul 2010-China Journal
Abstract: The Struggle for Sustainability in Rural China: Environmental Values and Civil Society, by Bryan Tilt. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. xviii +192 pp. US$89.50/£62.00 (hardcover), US$29.50/£20.50 (paperback). Bryan Tilt's remarkable monograph has an importance that cannot be overstated. The book portrays the often horrifying conditions precipitated by a confluence of development targets, privatization of industry and growing uncertainty amongst farming communities. Much of the literature on environmental pollution in China recites a macroscale mantra of the central state producing policies which local governments are too corrupt to enforce. By contrast, Tilt presents a much needed informative and detailed account of the lived realities of pollution victims, pollution perpetrators and regulatory agents. The study combines various methodologies including seven months of residence and participant observation in Futian, semistructured interviews, survey questionnaires with government officials, industrial workers, farmers and State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) scientists and bureaucrats, as well as attendance of township government meetings. Ethnographic methods in particular have enabled Tilt to provide a humanizing picture of actors all too often written off as corrupt. Here is an engrossing account of grassroots understanding of pollution, development and environmental values as they are situated in particular socio-political contexts. After a brief preface, the book is divided into 8 chapters, including an introduction and a conclusion. Chapters one and two provide some solid general background on China's recent history and how it has played out in the research setting of Futian, a township situated on the western edge of the heavily industrialized Panzhihua municipality, in Sichuan. Tilt traces the rise of a development imperative during the Maoist years, and its emphasis on rural industrialization. In the late Mao and early reform periods, Futian experienced what most locals remember fondly as a golden age of industrial development, when revenue from local industry was used to develop local infrastructure. By the late 1990s this communitarian ethic had fully given way to privatization, as local industries were sold to outsiders. The profit from small and low-tech polluting industries such as Futian' s zinc smelter, coking plant and coal-washing plant ceased to benefit the local community and government to the same extent, and these industries were eventually closed for noncompliance with environmental protection regulations. The effects of these changes on the relationships among the local community, industry and the local state are examined further in chapters three and four. Where previously critiquing local industries for causing pollution would have amounted to attacking the state itself, privatization opened space for a critical assessment of their impact. That benefits were no longer distributed to the local communities also increased incentives to complain about pollution. Other studies have already examined the complexities of enforcing environmental protection regulation due to inadequate staffing and ambiguous responsibilities. Tilt gives us a real sense of the scope of these problems. The size of the Renhe district's Environmental Protection Bureau's enforcement team - consisting of three technicians and the monitoring station chief and charged with overseeing more than 120 factories across 14 townships - is grossly inadequate. Despite this, the local population is shown to be acutely aware of pollution, belying assumptions that those in economic dire straits are too poor to care about the environment. A key strength of this study lies in its questioning of the very terms of the debate: what is deemed worthy of protection? What, in the discourse of sustainable development, is to be sustained? What is to be developed? Predictably, the answers vary with the speaker, as do the pathways of action which are premised upon them. …

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Topics: Environmental pollution (63%), Local community (55%), Sustainable development (53%) ... show more

33 Citations


Open access
05 Oct 2015-
Abstract: This paper considers the limits and potential of ‘urban metabolism’ to conceptualize city processes. Three ‘ecologies’ of urban metabolism have emerged. Each privileges a particular dimension of urban space, shaped by epistemology, politics, and model-making. Marxist ecologies theorize it as hybridized socio-natures that (re)produce uneven outcomes; industrial ecology, as stocks and flows of materials and energy; and urban ecology, as complex socio-ecological systems. We map these scholarly i...

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Topics: Urban metabolism (65%), Urban ecology (58%), Industrial ecology (54%)

22 Citations


Open access
Edward B. Barbier1Institutions (1)
10 Jun 2018-
Abstract: This paper examines the complex relationship that exists between poverty and natural resource degradation in developing countries. The rural poor are often concentrated in fragile, or less favorable, environmental areas. Consequently, their livelihoods can be intimately dependent on natural resource use and ecosystem services. The relationship between poverty and natural resource degradation may depend on a complex range of choices and tradeoffs available to the poor, which in the absence of capital, labor, and land markets, is affected by their access to outside employment and any natural resource endowments. The paper develops a poverty-environment model to characterize some of these linkages, and concludes by discussing policy implications and avenues for further research.

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Topics: Natural resource (57%), Poverty (52%)

17 Citations


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74 results found


Open accessBook
04 Jan 2010-
Abstract: Preface vii Acknowledgments xxi 1 The Force of Things 1 2 The Agency of Assemblages 20 3 Edible Matter 39 4 A Life of Metal 52 5 Neither Vitalism nor Mechanism 62 6 Stem Cells and the Culture of Life 82 7 Political Ecologies 94 8 Vitality and Self-interest 110 Notes 123 Bibliography 157 Index 171

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Topics: Political ecology (52%), Vitality (51%)

4,415 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1525/CAG.1998.20.1.41
Dion Dennis1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed James C. Scott. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

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4,255 Citations


Open accessBook
09 Aug 2004-
Abstract: List of Figures.List of Tables.List of Boxes.Introduction.The Goals of the Text.The Rest of the Book.Many Acknowledgments.Part I: What is Political Ecology?.1. The Hatchet and the Seed:.What is Political Ecology?.Challenging Apolitical Ecologies.Ecoscarcity and the Limits to Growth.Other Apolitical Ecologies: Diffusion, Valuation, and Modernization.Common assumptions and modes of explanation.The Hatchet: Political Ecology as Critique.The Seed: Political Ecology as Equity and Sustainability Research.The Dominant Narratives of Political Ecology.Big Questions and Theses.The Degradation and Marginalization Thesis.The Environmental Conflict Thesis.The Conservation and Control Thesis.The Environmental Agency and Social Movement Thesis.The Target of Explanation.2. A Tree with Deep Roots:.The Determinist Context.A Political Ecological Alternative.The Building Blocks.Critical Approaches in Early Human/Environment Research.Continental Critique: Humboldt, Reclus, Wallace, and Sommerville.Critical Environmental Pragmatism.From Sewer Socialism to Mitigating Floods: Hazards Research.The Nature of Society: Cultural Ecology.Historicism, Landscape, and Culture: Carl Sauer.Julian Steward: A Positivist Alternative.System, Function, and Human Life: Mature Cultural Ecology.Beyond Land and Water: The Boundaries of Cultural Ecology.The Limits of Progressive Contextualization.Taking the Plunge.3. The Critical Tools:.Common Property Theory.Green Materialism.Materialist History.The Case of Oriental Despotism.Dependency, Accumulation, and Degradation.Lessons from Materialism: Broadly Defined Political Economy.The Producer is the Agent of History: Peasant Studies.Chayanov and the Rational Producer.Scott and the Moral Economy.Gramsci and Peasant Power.Breaking Open the Household: Feminist Development Studies.Critical Environmental History.Whose History & Science? Postcolonial Studies and Power/Knowledge.Power/Knowledge.Critical Science, Deconstruction, and Ethics.Political Ecology Emergent.4. A Field Crystallizes:.Chains of Explanation.Peanuts and Poverty in Niger.Marginalization.The "Silent Violence" of Famine in Nigeria.Broadly Defined Political Economy.Struggle in Cote D'Ivoire's Fields and Pastures.25 Years Later.Part II: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges:.5. Destruction of Nature - Human Impact and Environmental Degradation:.The Focus on Human Impact.Defining and Measuring Degradation.Loss of Natural Productivity.Loss of Biodiversity.Loss of Usefulness.Socio-Environmental Destruction: Creating or Shifting Risk Ecology.Limits of Land Degradation: Variability, Disturbance, and Recovery.What Baseline? Non-Human Disturbance and Variability of Ecological Systems.What Impact? Variable Response to Disturbance.Can We Go Back? Variable Recovery from Disturbance.Methodological Imperatives in Political Analysis of Environmental Destruction.6. Construction of Nature: Environmental Knowledges and Imaginaries:.Why Bother to Argue That Nature (or Forests or Land Degradation...) is Constructed?.Choosing Targets for Political Ecological Constructivism.Three Debates and Motivations.Hard and Soft Constructivism."Radical" Constructivism."Soft" Constructivism.Constructivist Claims in Political Ecology."Barstool" Biologists and "Hysterical" Housewives: The Peculiar Case of Local Environmental Knowledge.Eliciting Environmental Construction.Talk and Text: Construction in Discourse.Categories and Taxonomies.Spatial Knowledge and Construction.Narratives of Ecological Process and Change.Genealogies of Representation: Environmental History.Methodological Issues in Political Analysis of Environmental Construction.Part III: Political Ecology Now:.7. Degradation and Marginalization:.The Argument.Degradation and Reversibility.Accumulation and Declining Margins.The Evidence.Amazonian Deforestation.Contract Agriculture in the Caribbean.Evaluating the Thesis.Research Example: Common Property Disorders in Rajasthan.Eliciting Rules of Use.Recording Environmental Practices and Response to Authority.Determining Ecological Outcomes.8. Conservation and Control:.The Argument.Coercion, Governmentality, and Internalization of State Rule.Disintegration of Moral Economy.The Constructed Character of Natural Wilderness.Territorialization of Conservation Space.The Evidence.New England Fisheries Conservation.Fire in Madagascar.Social Forestry Conservation in Southeast Asia.The Consistency of Colonial and Contemporary Forestry.The Limits of Social Reform in Forestry.Evaluating the Thesis.Riven Bureaucracies and Efficacious Species.Alternative Conservation?.Research Example: The Biogeography of Power in the Aravalli.A Classic Case of Conservation and Control?.Establishing historical patterns of access.Understanding contemporary land uses and enclosure impacts.Tracking unintended consequences.9. Environmental Conflict:.The Argument.Social structure as differential environmental access and responsibility.Property institutions as politically partial constructions.Environmental development and classed, gendered, raced imaginaries.The Evidence.Agricultural Development in Gambia.Gambia and the Gendered Land/Labor Nexus.Land Conflict in the US West.Evaluating the Thesis.Stock Characters and Standard Scripts.Research Example: Gendered Landscapes and Resource Bottlenecks in the Thar.Determining Differential Land Uses and Rights.Tracking Changes in Availability.Evaluating Divergent Impacts.10. Environmental Identity and Movement:.The Argument.Differential Risk and Ecological Injustice.Moral Economies and Peasant Resistance.Postcolonialism and Rewriting Ecology from the Margins.The Evidence.Andean Livelihood Movements.Modernization and Identity.Hijacking Chipko: Trees, Gender, Livelihood, and Essentialism in India.Women's Movement or Peasant Movement?.Evaluating the Thesis.Making Politics by Making a Living.The risk of primitive romances and essentialisms.The reality of dissent.In the Field: Pastoral Polities in Rajasthan.Agrarian Alliances and Traditional Technology as Resistance.Ambivalence, Research, and Ethics.Part IV: Where to Now?.11. Where to Now?."Against Political Ecology"?.Too Much Theory or Too Little?.Denunciations versus Asymmetries.Three Calls for Symmetry.From Destruction to Production.From Peasants to Producers.From Chains to Networks.The Hybridity Thesis.Political Ecologies of Success.New Substantive Research Mandates.Population Is Too Important to be Left to the Malthusians.Genetic Modification Won't Go Away.Cities are Political Ecologies.Against "Against Political Ecology": Retaining Both Theory and Surprise.In the Meantime...References.Index

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Topics: Political ecology (68%), Environmental philosophy (67%), Environmental social science (66%) ... show more

1,826 Citations


Open accessBook
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing1Institutions (1)
29 Sep 2015-
Abstract: *Frontmatter, pg. i*Contents, pg. v*Enabling Entanglements, pg. vii*Prologue. Autumn Aroma, pg. 1*1. Arts of Noticing, pg. 11*2. Contamination as Collaboration, pg. 27*3. Some Problems with Scale, pg. 37*4. Working the Edge, pg. 55*5. Open Ticket, Oregon, pg. 73*6. War Stories, pg. 85*7. What Happened to the State? Two Kinds of Asian Americans, pg. 97*8. Between the Dollar and the Yen, pg. 109*9. From Gifts to Commodities-and Back, pg. 121*10. Salvage Rhythms: Business in Disturbance, pg. 131*11. The Life of the Forest, pg. 149*12. History, pg. 167*13. Resurgence, pg. 179*14. Serendipity, pg. 193*15. Ruin, pg. 205*16. Science as Translation, pg. 217*17. Flying Spores, pg. 227*18. Matsutake Crusaders: Waiting for Fungal Action, pg. 251*19. Ordinary Assets, pg. 267*20. Anti-ending: Some People I Met along the Way, pg. 277*Notes, pg. 289*Index, pg. 323

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1,328 Citations


Open accessBook
06 Apr 2005-
Abstract: About the Series ix Preface and Acknowledgments xi 1. Introduction: The Politics of Nature and the Making of Environmental Subjects 1 Part I: Power/Knowledge and the Creation of Forests 25 2. Forests of Statistics: Colonial Environmental Knowledges 32 3. Struggles over Kumaon's Forests, 1815-1916 65 Part II: A New Technology of Environmental Government: Politics, Institutions, and Subjectivities 87 4. Governmentalized Localities: The Dispersal of Regulation 101 5. Inside the Regulatory Community 127 6. Making Environmental Subjects: Intimate Government 164 7. Conclusion: The Analytics of Environmentality 201 Notes 231 Bibliography 279 Index 309

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1,170 Citations


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