The International Handbook of Political Ecology
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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.
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Chapter 43: Towards a lusophone political ecology: assessing ‘para inglês ver’ environments

Tiago çvila Martins Freitas and Augusto Cesar Salomão Mozine


This chapter explores the prospects for a lusophone political ecology. Even if scholars in Portugal, Brazil and lusophone African countries are rooted in divergent academic practices and socio-economic contexts, we argue that they share an elastic affinity through language and culture. One expression that is deeply embedded in the lusophone sensibilities is ‘para inglês ver’, which literally means ‘for the Englishman to see’ and, figuratively, that something ‘is merely for show’. As a feature of a subaltern mind-set resulting from centuries of subordination to England of both Portugal and its former colonies – reflecting a creative way of dealing with external impositions without really submitting to them – it is now used in a much broader sense regarding showing off in general. Based on lusophone experiences on the ‘periphery’, we argue that para inglês ver represents an internationally distinctive way in which to conceive environment–society relations along two analytical lines: as a metaphor of external influences (with the concern about the environment being a paradigmatic example of that); and in the sense of action that is undertaken for the sake of appearances, involving instrumentalization of the ‘environment’. Lusophone researchers have investigated para inglês ver environments, with similar approaches to writers from elsewhere in the world who subscribe to a political ecology perspective – albeit with their own distinctive intellectual articulations. This chapter thus provides examples from Portugal, showcasing society–environment relations in the context of European Union integration; from Brazil, a resource-rich country with a history of unequal and destructive resource exploitation; and from the African countries of Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, with critical insights from there about environmental narratives. This early ‘cartography’ of a lusophone political ecology will not only assist in the further elaboration of lusophone-specific research themes, but will also, it is hoped, contribute to wider conceptual and empirical understanding in global political ecology.

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