Environmental Governance in a Populist/Authoritarian Era  book cover
1st Edition

Environmental Governance in a Populist/Authoritarian Era

Edited By

James McCarthy

ISBN 9781032087108
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
408 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $52.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This volume explores the many and deep connections between the widespread rise of authoritarian leaders and populist politics in recent years, and the domain of environmental politics and governance – how environments are known, valued, and managed; for whose benefit; and with what outcomes.

The volume is explicitly international in scope and comparative in design, emphasizing both the differences and commonalties to be seen among contemporary authoritarian and populist political formations and their relations to environmental governance. Prominent themes include the historical roots of and precedents for environmental governance in authoritarian and populist contexts; the relationships between populism and authoritarianism and extractivism and resource nationalism; environmental politics as an arena for questions of security and citizenship; racialization and environmental politics; the politics of environmental science and knowledge; and progressive political alternatives. In each domain, using rich case studies, contributors analyse what differences it makes when environmental governance takes place in authoritarian and populist political contexts.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Authoritarianism, Populism, and the Environment: Comparative Experiences, Insights, and Perspectives

James McCarthy

Part I: Historical and Comparative Perspectives

2. Authoritarian Environmental Governance: Insights from the Past Century

Robert Wilson

3. Deadly Environmental Governance: Authoritarianism, Eco-populism, and the Repression of Environmental and Land Defenders

Nick Middeldorp and Philippe Le Billon

Part II: Extractivism, Populism, and Authoritarianism

4. Neoliberalizing Authoritarian Environmental Governance in (Post) Socialist Laos

Miles Kenney-Lazar

5. The Speculative Petro-State: Volatile Oil Prices and Resource Populism in Ecuador

Angus Lyall and Gabriela Valdivia

6. Contradictions of Populism and Resource Extraction: Examining the Intersection of Resource Nationalism and Accumulation by Dispossession in Mongolia

Orhon Myadar and Sara Jackson

7. Bringing Back the Mines and a Way of Life: Populism and the Politics of Extraction

Erik Kojola

8. Emotional Environments of Energy Extraction in Russia

Jessica K. Graybill

9. U.S. Farm Policy as Fraught Populism: Tracing the Scalar Tensions of Nationalist Agricultural Governance

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace

Part III: Environment as Political Proxy and Arena for Security and Citizenship

10. The State, Sewers, and Security: How Does the Egyptian State Reframe Environmental Disasters as Terrorist Threats?

Mohammed Rafi Arefin

11. Sequestering a River: The Political Ecology of the "Dead" Ergene River and Neoliberal Urbanization in Today’s Turkey

Eda Acara

12. "Return the Lake to the People": Populist Political Rhetoric and the Fate of a Resource Frontier in the Philippines

Kristian Saguin

13. Fishing for Power: Incursions of the Ugandan Authoritarian State

Anne J. Kantel

14. From the Heavens to the Markets: Governing Agricultural Drought under Chinese Fragmented Authoritarianism

Afton Clarke-Sather

15. Electricity-Centered Clientelism and the Contradictions of Private Solar Microgrids in India

Jonathan N. Balls and Harry W. Fischer

16. Dreams and Migration in South Korea’s Border Region: Landscape Change and Environmental Impacts

Heejun Chang, Sunhak Bae, and Kyunghyun Park

Part IV: Racialization and Environmental Politics

17. Afro-Brazilian Resistance to Extractivism in the Bay of Aratu

Adam Bledsoe

18. Infrastructure and Authoritarianism in the Land of Waters: A Genealogy of Flood Control in Guyana

Joshua Mullenite

19. Border Thinking, Borderland Diversity, and Trump’s Wall

Melissa W. Wright

20. Environmental Deregulation, Spectacular Racism, and White Nationalism in the Trump Era

Laura Pulido, Tianna Bruno, Cristina Faiver-Serna, and Cassandra Galentine

21. Reaction, Resilience, and the Trumpist Behemoth: Environmental Risk Management from "Hoax" to Technique of Domination

Matthew Sparke and Daniel Bessner

Part V: Politics of Environmental Science and Knowledge

22. Situating Data in a Trumpian Era: The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative

Lindsey Dillon, Rebecca Lave, Becky Mansfield, Sara Wylie, Nicholas Shapiro, Anita Say Chan, and Michelle Murphy

23. Rocket Wastelands in Kazakhstan: Scientific Authoritarianism and the Baikonur Cosmodrome

Robert A. Kopack

24. Avoiding Climate Change: "Agnostic Adaptation" and the Politics of Public Silence

Liz Koslov

25. The People Know Best: Situating the Counterexpertise of Populist Pipeline Opposition Movements

Kai Bosworth

26. Beyond Narratives: Civic Epistemologies and the Coproduction of Environmental Knowledge and Popular Environmentalism in Thailand

Tim Forsyth

27. Speaking Power to "Post-Truth": Critical Political Ecology and the New Authoritarianism

Benjamin Neimark, John Childs, Andrea J. Nightingale, Connor Joseph Cavanagh, Sian Sullivan, Tor A. Benjaminsen, Simon Batterbury, Stasja Koot, and Wendy Harcourt

Part VI: Progressive Alternatives

28. Populism, Emancipation, and Environmental Governance: Insights from Bolivia

Diego Andreucci

29. Whatever Happened to Green Collar Jobs? Populism and Clean Energy Transition

Sarah Knuth

30. Reparation Ecologies: Regimes of Repair in Populist Agroecology

Kirsten Valentine Cadieux, Stephen Carpenter, Alex Liebman, Renata Blumberg, and Bhaskar Upadhyay

31. Development and Sustainable Ethics in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China

Stuart C. Aitken, Li An, and Shuang Yang

32. A Manifesto for a Progressive Land-Grant Mission in an Authoritarian Populist Era

Jenny E. Goldstein, Kasia Paprocki, and Tracey Osborne

View More



James McCarthy is a Professor in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University, USA. His work analyses the interactions of political economy and environmental politics. He has published three major edited volumes and over 50 articles and chapters. His current research explores the relationships between climate change, renewable energy, and the future of capitalism.