Political Ecology is a discipline that focuses on the social forces that shape the world in which we live. It has been described as a “fundamental approach to the understanding of how societies work” by the American Political Science Association.
Political Ecology is the study of the interrelationships among political, economical and other social forces with global change and environmental change. Political Ecology differs from environmental studies by politicizing environmental phenomena and issues. This means that it is not about environmental issues per se, but how environmental change can create new political and economic relationships. It thus makes use of a political framework to analyze the connections between human societies and the environment.
A political ecologist sees change in terms of power relations. A change in power relations produces new political relationships that result in new power relations and so on. Thus the changes in power relations are associated with changes in the relationships of power and resources within a society. The relationship between social factors and environmental factors in any given society is a complex one, and hence change is always accompanied by a change in the relationships of power and resources. In addition, these changes also depend on the location of a society within the global ecological system, and thus they also involve changes in the local interactions of resources within the society.
The study of power relations is closely related to social movements, but there is a key distinction. The study of social movements involves a set of strategies and tactics that are used to create a specific outcome. On the other hand, political ecology studies the relationship between social and environmental factors that determine the way people interact with each other. The relationship between social and environmental factors is what determines the social power and its distribution. The distribution of social power is determined by the degree of autonomy, social status and other qualities that people have. Social power is then distributed among people in the society according to their relationships and social status.
Most political ecology authors work on the social structure of a society, while some of the more social scientists focus on the relationship of social structures to environmental factors. The relationship between environmental factors and social structures is what drives political ecology. The relationship between social structures and environmental factors is usually referred to as a hierarchy.
There are several different theoretical frameworks that are used in this discipline. One is the dialectic framework that has two different perspectives that are at war with each other. The other is a socio-historical framework that uses historical accounts of the past to predict future events. Finally, ecological models of global change can be considered.
Political ecology rise in the 1980s as an interdisciplinary area that studied environmental issues using the concepts and approaches of political market. A central assumption of the area is that environmental change can’t be understood due to the economic and political structures and institutions where it’s embedded. T
The character culture dialectic is the basic focus of investigation. Marxian political economy provided the first primary theoretical sway, while the evolution of post-structural social theory and nonequilibrium ecology infused fresh thoughts and theories in following decades. Political ecology’s strategy to nature-culture connections has specifically correlated capitalist development with environmental shift across multiple temporal and spatial scales. The area continues to be a significant source of critical analyses of their social and environmental effects of financial growth and conservation efforts, focusing especially on the content and discursive facets of real estate rights.
Recent trends and future directions for study comprise a growing urban political ecology subject, critical responses to ecological safety concept, an involvement with the characteristics of integrity, and also a focus on identity and environment.