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 44: Political ecology in and of China

Emily T. Yeh

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


Ecological modernization narratives and long lists of dire statistics dominate both scholarly work on and popular understandings of human–environment relationships in China. Political ecology offers a powerful alternative framework to conceptualize the environment as shaped by political economy, power and politics rather than being primarily a technical matter. This chapter reviews key themes in political ecological scholarship work on China to date, including debates about the effects of de-collectivization and market reform on agrarian and pastoral environments; protected areas as well as urban ‘greening’ efforts as forms of dispossession and capital accumulation; analysis of why industrial pollution persists despite public awareness; hydropower; and environmental activism. China’s particular place in the world economy and geopolitical order suggests a number of contributions that further study can make to political ecology more generally. At the same time, the chapter explores why Chinese-language scholarship on political ecology today remains relatively limited.

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