What Is Political Ecology ? a Conceptuel Approach

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 13:15
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Fabrice FLIPO, Telecom-EM, France
In this communication I want to raise some results exposed in my book on political ecology (Nature and politics, Amsterdam 2014), based on the discussion of some french authors. Political ecology is usually hard to define. Is it a political party ? Is it a social movement, with broad mobilisations, agenda setting etc. ? Is it of economical nature, as the Ecological Economics school of thought or the « green growth » discourses are explaining us ? Are ecologists « believing » in climate change or collapses ? Are they neo-animists, or a new kind of scientists ? The questions are numerous. I used the following methodology : try to catch what political ecology is through debates that arose at the moment of its emergence, since 60s. A this date, two ideologies where dominating political debates : liberalism and ‘socialism’ broadly defined as class struggle, being reformist or revolutionary. We found four major controversies, in academic litterature : on ‘rights of nature’ (is it possible ? Rational ?), on political behaviour of ecologists (are they right wing or left wing ? None of them ? ), on the economy (class struggle or free-market ?) and on science and religion. In this communication we try to sum up these findings. This methology has some limitations, as any other has some also. In this case ‘ecologism’ is being excessively homogeneised. But is had also some positive aspects : going beyond the apparent multiplicity and dispersion of what is called ‘ecologism’.