A Southeast Asian political ecology

Authored by: Peter Vandergeest , Robin Roth

Routledge Handbook of the Environment in Southeast Asia

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415625210
eBook ISBN: 9781315474892
Adobe ISBN: 9781315474885


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Political ecology can be broadly understood as a field of study that approaches environmental issues through the lens of power relations. The field encompasses work that emphasizes political economic, cultural and social processes, focusing on the ways uneven relations of power shape ecologies and their governance across scale. Its diverse strands include careful attention to the ways that rural people manage the ecologies in which they live; how political economic processes shape access to land and resources; and the critical analysis of environmental narratives that either blame marginalized people for environmental degradation, or conversely romanticize them as environmental saviours. Political ecology is thus a broad and eclectic field, but many scholars embrace that eclecticism as a strength, and assert political ecology as a community of practice united in its purpose to think about environmental problems and their solutions as always shaped by processes of power (Robbins, 2012).

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