Political ecology as a fertile site for social theorizing

Peter Taylor
University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA

Abstract (revised Mar 2016): During the 1990s political ecology became an active field of inquiry into environmental degradation and, sometimes, environmental restoration. Political ecology also had the potential to contribute to the process of social theorizing, which stemmed from the implications of what this paper calls "intersecting processes." This term signifies that political ecological analyses attempt to make sense of dynamics produced by intersecting economic, social and ecological processes operating at different scales. Not surprisingly given the complexity of intersecting processes, political ecology has generated its own variants of the on-going debates in the social sciences about how to overcome the macro-micro and structure-agent splits, to span multiple levels of analysis, and to balance generality and particularity. In order to connect this paper to the cultural and political geography of water, this paper begins with my early research on salinization and moves through the development of my account of intersecting processes and its implications.

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Visual aids
Practice run of talk (21 minutes)

Political ecology as Intersecting processes:
Case study of Intersecting Processes:
Implications for social theorizing:
Case study of salinization in Australia:
Science studies meets Political ecology:
Participatory processes:
Cultivating Collaborators:
New England Workshop on Science and Social Change: