Published on Apr 4, 2016
In this lecture on critical political ecology, Dr. Paige West traces the history of the theory and how it emerged from the study of isolated communities and their connections to external structures that impact their social lives. She defines political ecology as a critical approach that sees environmental change as caused by both natural and human structures, with differential impacts for individuals within those structures. She highlights the role that female academics have played in advancing political ecology as a theory and method, and then focuses on the influence and concepts from Foucault, including discourse, power, and discipline. She then draws on examples from her own work in Papua New Guinea to exemplify the ongoing use of the political ecology frame, starting with characterizing contemporary Papua New Guineans as connected to the outside world and continuing by exploring coffee commodity chains as one form of local-global relationships. She ends by discussing updated understandings of Marx’s ideas of accumulation and dispossession, suggests that there are both material and nonmaterial forms of these tendencies of modern global economic structures.
More information on the Immersion Program and other lectures can be found here: http://www.sesync.org/for-you/educato….