The International Handbook of Political Ecology
Show Less

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.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 35: The political ecology of weeds: a scalar approach to landscape transformations

Christian A. Kull and Haripriya Rangan


How do plants that move and spread across landscapes become branded as weeds and thereby objects of contention and control? We outline a political ecology approach that builds on a Lefebvrian understanding of the production of space, identifying three scalar moments that make plants into ‘weeds’ in different spatial contexts and landscapes. The three moments are: the operational scale, which relates to empirical phenomena in nature and society; the observational scale, which defines formal concepts of these phenomena and their implicit or explicit ‘biopower’ across institutional and spatial categories; and the interpretive scale, which is communicated through stories and actions expressing human feelings or concerns regarding the phenomena and processes of socio-spatial change. Together, these three scalar moments interact to produce a political ecology of landscape transformation, where biophysical and socio-cultural processes of daily life encounter formal categories and modes of control as well as emotive and normative expectations in shaping landscapes. Using three exemplar ‘weeds’ – acacia, lantana and ambrosia – our political ecology approach to landscape transformations shows that weeds do not act alone and that invasives are not inherently bad organisms. Humans and weeds go together; plants take advantage of spaces and opportunities that we create. Human desires for preserving certain social values in landscapes in contradiction to actual transformations is often at the heart of definitions of and conflicts over weeds or invasives.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.