POLITICAL ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY
CALL FOR PAPERS: Political Ecology and Environmental Sociology: Towards Productive Engagement or Sustaining the Contract of Mutual Indifference?
DIMENSIONS OF POLITICAL ECOLOGY, CONFERENCE ON NATURE/SOCIETY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY February 27 – March 1, 2014 University of Kentucky Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Alan Rudy, Damian White, Christopher Oliver and Brian Gareau
The political ecologist Piers Blackie has observed in a stock-taking of political ecology that “a review of Environmental Sociology, a textbook by Hannigan, finds no mention of Political Ecology and yet most of its contents might well be claimed as Political Ecology” (Blackie, 2008: 772). One could similarly work through many political ecology textbooks and find little or no discussion of environmental sociology. Given the ritualistic appeals to “inter-disciplinarity” in the environmental social sciences, how can we account for the extra-ordinary disengagement between political ecology and environmental sociology? How can these seemingly overlapping and aligned sub-disciplines largely ignore each other? Why has political ecology taken socio-natural hybridity, post-human ethics and non-equilibrium ecologies so much more seriously than US environmental sociology has? Why is it that understandings of the relationship between capital and ecology are widely divergent between environmental sociologists and political ecologists? Are both fields increasingly disabled by their dis-engagement with each other?
Attempting to do justice to the diverse amalgam of movements, institutions and disciplines that have contributed to the many methods and foci involved, this panel will explore this strange contract of mutual indifference from a number of perspectives, e.g.
1. Northern attitude and policy research relative to Southern development and ethnographic studies;
2. Durkheimian empiricist, realist Marxist and neo-Malthusian approaches contrasted with relational Marxist, materialist feminist and post structuralist currents;
3. Critical takes on risk society and the democratization of the state versus bureaucratic management derived from risk science-based policy;
4. Local and lay knowledge leading in directions quite different than those of green neoliberalism;
5. The primary roots of US environmental sociology in rural sociology versus political ecology’s founding of political ecology in European development geography.
The panel will consist of a series of short pieces (3000 words) en route to an open discussion. The aims of the panel will be to gain great understanding of the blockages that prevent broader engagements between political ecology and environmental sociology. It will also consider how we might imagine more productive relations between political ecology and environmental sociology.
Please submit proposed title and abstract to Alan Rudy firstname.lastname@example.org Damian White email@example.com, Chris Oliver firstname.lastname@example.org and Brian Gareau email@example.com by December 1st 2013
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