Handbook of Ecological Economics
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Handbook of Ecological Economics

Edited by Joan Martínez-Alier and Roldan Muradian

This Handbook provides an overview of major current debates, trends and perspectives in ecological economics. It covers a wide range of issues, such as the foundations of ecological economics, deliberative methods, the de-growth movement, ecological macroeconomics, social metabolism, environmental governance, consumer studies, knowledge systems and new experimental approaches. Written by leading authors in their respective areas of specialisation, the contributions systematize the “state of the art” in the selected topics, and draw insights about new knowledge frontiers.
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Chapter 19: Looking forward: current concerns and the future of ecological economics

Joan Martínez-Alier and Roldan Muradian


Ropke (2004; 2005) competently reconstructed the early history of modern ecological economics (until the late 1980s), as well as examining the development of the field until the mid-2000s, including aspects related to identity and conflicts within the community of ecological economists, research trends and organizational development. We do not pretend here to replicate this endeavor. In this concluding chapter to the Handbook we rather aim to characterize current major areas of work, to link them to the different contributions contained in this Handbook and to identify some significant challenges ahead. More than 25 years after the creation of the International Society for Ecological Economics we can confidently say that it has been very successful in establishing a scientific community that has consolidated itself and has grown with time. Given the plural and inter-disciplinary profile of this ‘convergence space’ that has been called ecological economics, identity problems will always constitute a distinctive feature of the community of ecological economists (which is not only composed by economists). Despite the coexistence of different visions and approaches, we think, however, that there are also strong bonding elements, which have been able to keep this heterogeneous community alive and thriving.

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