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Allison Hayes-Conroy and Jessica Hayes-Conroy

In this chapter, we seek to demonstrate how and why bodies matter to political ecology and what political ecology as an approach to understanding lends to the study of bodies. We do so by exploring a particular model called political ecology of the body (PEB). We developed the model out of our recognition that political ecology lends key tools for analyzing bodily materiality that help to operationalize the ‘material turn’ of much social and cultural analysis without neglecting political ecology’s long-held concerns of structural inequity and discursive context. The authors find that recent scholarship on the political ecology of health and political ecological forays into material theories of affect, as well as broader ‘second-generation’ political ecology that has embraced relational theories, all provide strong evidence of growth in the field in a direction that is uniquely prepared to address concerns of the visceral, material body. At the same time, the authors insist that the realm of bodily experience can and should be included in all political ecology theorizing; to examine without concern for the visceral is to curtail explanation without full appreciation of the power of feeling in all of our political and ecological realities.