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 45: Emotional political ecology

Farhana Sultana

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

Abstract

This chapter develops an emotional political ecology approach by integrating scholarship in feminist political ecology, resources management and emotional geographies. Emotions matter in resource struggles. They influence outcomes of practices and processes of resource access, use and control while shaping how resources-related interactions are actually experienced in everyday lives. I demonstrate the importance of heeding the various emotions and meanings attached to resource access, use and conflict in order to better elucidate the emotionality thereby engaged in everyday struggles. Through a case study of a water crisis, the chapter draws attention to the emotional geographies of water that are important in explaining the ways that feeling subjects relate to water and how water mediates broader social relations. Conflicts over resources are thus as much about embodied emotions, feelings and lived experiences as they are about property rights and entitlements, long the focus in political ecology. Not only does such an approach lead to greater nuance in understanding resources struggles and politics; it also rejects the idea that ‘real’ scholarship is about ‘rational’ social interactions over resources that leaves emotive realities about how resources are accessed, used and fought over firmly to one side. Indeed, (feminist) political ecology will be immeasurably strengthened when often abstract articulations of ‘resource struggles’ and ‘resource conflicts’ are grounded in embodied emotional geographies of places, peoples and resources, enabling enhanced comprehension of how resources and emotions intermingle in everyday resource management practices. I believe that more comprehensive and productive analyses are possible that can greatly expand current debates to better explain why and how specific nature–society relations play out the way they do. An emotional political ecology approach thus elucidates how emotions matter in nature–society relations, and can thus greatly enhance future political ecology scholarship.

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