A Research Agenda for Environmental Geopolitics
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A Research Agenda for Environmental Geopolitics

Edited by Shannon O’Lear

Challenging the mainstream view of the environment as either threatening or valuable, this book considers how geographic knowledge can be applied to offer a more nuanced understanding. Framed within geopolitics and using a range of methodologies, the chapters encapsulate different approaches to demonstrate how selective forms of knowledge, measurement, and spatial focus both embody and stabilize power, shaping how people perceive and respond to changing features of human-environment interactions.
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Chapter 5: Conflicts, commodities and the environmental geopolitics of supply chains

Philippe Le Billon and Lauren Shykora

Abstract

Commodities are deeply embedded into our daily lives, and consumer awareness of the socio-environmental features of resources has grown over the past three decades. Still, consumers only superficially understand the geopolitics of resources. While some commodities are idealized through concepts of fair trade and local/traditional origin certification, others are vilified through association with environmental devastation and terrorism. By investigating the geopolitical constructs reproduced through commodities, environmental geopolitical analysis can help better understand the power-laden selective representations of supply chains. Contrasting examples of commodities associated with various forms of conflicts, this chapter demonstrates the value of environmental geopolitical analysis and the potential for emancipatory reinterpretations of commodity flows.

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