Global Political Ecology: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Global Political Ecology

1st Edition

Edited by Richard Peet, Paul Robbins, Michael Watts


450 pages | 35 B/W Illus.

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The world is caught in the mesh of a series of environmental crises. So far attempts at resolving the deep basis of these have been superficial and disorganized. Global Political Ecology links the political economy of global capitalism with the political ecology of a series of environmental disasters and failed attempts at environmental policies.

This critical volume draws together contributions from twenty-five leading intellectuals in the field. It begins with an introductory chapter that introduces the readers to political ecology and summarizes the books main findings. The following seven sections cover topics on the political ecology of war and the disaster state; fuelling capitalism: energy scarcity and abundance; global governance of health, bodies, and genomics; the contradictions of global food; capital’s marginal product: effluents, waste, and garbage; water as a commodity, a human right, and power; the functions and dysfunctions of the global green economy; political ecology of the global climate, and carbon emissions.

This book contains accounts of the main currents of thought in each area that bring the topics completely up-to-date. The individual chapters contain a theoretical introduction linking in with the main themes of political ecology, as well as empirical information and case material. Global Political Ecology serves as a valuable reference for students interested in political ecology, environmental justice, and geography.


"Global Political Ecology is a critical book at a critical time. Political ecology has come of age and established global stature. A timely and important book. Read it!" Professor Piers Blaikie, University of East Anglia.

"This is an important and provocative volume that relates key themes in political ecology to the political economy of global capitalism and policy failure. It breaks new ground by addressing topics vital to understanding contemporary social and environmental crises that have hitherto not received due attention. Certain to be a landmark text in the field." Professor Raymond Bryant, King’s College London

"Global environmental problems, from climate change to the food we eat, loom heavily over us while policy makers fiddle with environmental agreements that ignore the sources of these burning issues. Global Political Ecology speaks to our anxieties by drawing attention to the political economic contexts and sites of knowledge production in which all roads seem to lead to market-based solutions. This superb text offers a conceptual and theoretical toolkit that will empower students of global environmental change to shape alternative political ecologies." Professor Thomas J. Bassett, University of Illinois.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Global Nature Michael Watts, Paul Robbins and Richard Peet Part I: Food, Health and the Body: Political Ecology of Sustainability Chapter 2. Excess Consumption or Over-production: US Farm Policy, Global Warming, and the Bizarre Atribution of Obesity Julie Guthman Chapter 3. Killing for Profit: Global Livestock Industries and their Socio-Ecological Implications Jody Emel and Harvey Neo Chapter 4. "Modern" Industrial Fisheries and the Crisis of Overfishing Becky Mansfield Chapter 5. When People Come First: AIDS, Technical Fixes, and Social Innovation in the Global Health Market João Biehl Part II: Capital’s Margins: The Political Ecology the Slum World Chapter 6. Global Garbage: Waste, trash trading and local garbage politics Sarah A. Moore Chapter 7. Green evictions: Environmental discourses of a "slum-free" Delhi Asher Ghertner Part III: Risk, Certification and the Audit Economy: Political Ecology of Environmental Governance Chapter 8. The Politics of Certification: Consumer Knowledge, Power and Global Governance in Ecolabelling Sally Eden Chapter 9. Climate Change and the Risk Industry: The Multiplication of Fear and Value Leigh Johnson Chapter 10. Carbon colonialism? Offsets, Greenhouse Gas Reductions and Sustainable Development A. G. Bumpus and D. M. Liverman Part IV: War, Militarism and Insurgency: Political Ecology of Security Chapter 11. The Natures of the Beast: On the New Uses of the Honey Bee Jake Kosek Chapter 12. Taking the Jungle out of the Forest: Counter-insurgency and the Making of National Natures Nancy Lee Peluso and Peter Vandergeest Chapter 13. Mutant Ecologies: Radioactive Life in Post-Cold War New Mexico Joseph Masco Part V: Fuelling Capitalism: Energy Scarcity and Abundance Chapter 14. Past Peak Oil: Political Economy of Energy Crises Gavin Bridge Chapter 15: Energy, Security, and Discourses of Empire and Terror Mazen Labban Part VI: Blue Ecology: the Political Ecology of Water Chapter 16. Commons versus Commodities: Political ecologies of water privatization Karen Bakker Chapter 17. The Social Construction of Scarcity: The Case of Water in Western India Lyla Mehta Part VII: Biopolitics and Political Ecology: Genes, Transgenes and Genomics Chapter 18. Governing Disorder: Biopolitics and the Molecularization of Life Bruce Braun Chapter 19. Transnational Transgenes: The Political Ecology of Maize in Mexico Joel Wainwright and Kristin L. Mercer

About the Editors

Richard Peet is Professor of Geography at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Paul Robbins is Professor and Director of the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona.

Michael J. Watts is Professor of Geography, and Co-Director of Development Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Natural Resources
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries