1st Edition

Environmental Governance in a Populist/Authoritarian Era

Edited By James McCarthy Copyright 2020
    408 Pages
    by Routledge

    406 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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.