Table of Contents

The International Handbook of Political Ecology

The International Handbook of Political Ecology

Edited by Raymond L. Bryant

The International Handbook features chapters by leading scholars from around the world in a unique collection exploring the multi-disciplinary field of political ecology. This landmark volume canvasses key developments, topics, issues, debates and concepts showcasing how political ecologists today address pressing social and environmental concerns. Introductory chapters provide an overview of political ecology and the Handbook. Remaining chapters examine five broad themes: issues and approaches; governance and power; knowledge and discourse; method and scale; connections and transformations. Across diverse topics and perspectives, these chapters amount to a wide-ranging survey of current research, making the International Handbook an indispensable reference for scholars and students in political ecology.

Chapter 6: Roots, rhizomes, networks and territories: reimagining pattern and power in political ecologies

Dianne Rocheleau

Subjects: environment, environmental politics and policy, environmental sociology, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


This chapter examines the contributions of one school of thought in political ecology: namely, that which explores how ideas about networks, roots, rhizomes and territories and associated methods enable new ways of seeing, being in and studying ‘naturecultures’ (a term used to challenge the dichotomous formulation of nature and culture and to evoke the relational logic and complexities of the living worlds we inhabit), including relations of power within and between places, people and ‘things’. Those ways of being constitute both ends and means in many struggles for freedom and autonomy, especially indigenous peoples’ thought and action. The adoption of new methods, theories, models and metaphors based on those experiences are also necessary, though not sufficient, to decolonize ourselves, our communities and our nations, and their ways of being-in-relation within and between various living worlds. The chapter begins by examining some key conceptual issues and practical developments that underpin such thinking, notably rooted networks, power, social movement practices, actor networks and assemblages, rhizomatic actions, territorial articulations and indigenous worlds. It then shows how such thinking has evolved in and meshed with shared learning and experiences in my own fieldwork in four times and places: Sierra region of the Dominican Republic (1979–81); Machakos District Kenya (1983–93, 2002); Zambran-Chacuey Cotui in the Dominican Republic (1992, 1996, 2006) and Chiapas, Mexico (2005–14).

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