Political Ecology and Unequal Exchange

Authored by: Alf Hornborg

Routledge Handbook of Ecological Economics

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138931510
eBook ISBN: 9781315679747
Adobe ISBN: 9781317395102


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Political ecology comprises a wide range of research across the social sciences, but a shared foundational conviction is that obstacles to sustainable human–environmental relations arise from societal power structures. It takes the interfusion of natural and social science perspectives for granted. Political ecology frequently applies transdisciplinary approaches to empirical case studies of human ecology investigating the politics and local details of human–environmental relations in a particular geographical area. 2 As will be shown in this chapter, the approach also helps clarify the currently mystified relations between economies, energy flows and technological progress. The emphasis here, true to the heterodox concerns of political ecology, is on the function of these mystifications as components of a discourse on sustainability that ultimately obscures capitalist power relations.

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