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Regular version of the site

Political Ecology

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
3 year, 3, 4 module


Course Syllabus


Political Ecology as part of the Anthropocene concept – is one of the most popular analytical and methodological approaches designed to offer a solid framework for solving the most critical environmental problems such as deforestation, climate changes, overfishing and overhunting, land degradation that has resulted in the overall environmental crisis. This crisis is highly intertwined with developmentality as the idea that prompted and disseminated by all developed countries across the world. During this course, we will look at processes of natural resource management using an interdisciplinary perspective, including several key topics: nature conservation, including illegal wildlife trade (IWT) issues, nature as a source to solve the food problem, climate changes as a by-product of anthropogenic activities, land degradation, timber poaching, and deforestation. We will also answer the question of why environmental policy often failed in an attempt to address such challenges in third world countries and why such policy has triggered resistance of local communities in many countries of the global South.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To look through the theories of political ecology and understand how they can be applied to the post-2015 development policy agenda
  • To understand the key ideas, concepts, and themes in political ecology based on examples from various regions of the world and cultural settings with particular focus on four topics: environment and development, climate change, land use, and nature conservation (e.g., through the context of environmental security).
  • To explore the various critiques of political ecology issues prominent across social science to understand the complexity of present-day environmental policy.
  • To provide students with necessary skills which enable them to analyze the different challenges in political ecology worldwide.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • The students will acquire the necessary methodological skills needed to measure the ecological impact that will allow them to assess socio-economic and political situations in the country under consideration.
  • The students will be able to analyze the wide range of issues in political ecology based on their theoretical and methodological suitability and their preferences. They will be able to write the analytical documents of their choice in several areas of study.
  • The students will learn about key ideas, concepts, and themes in political ecology, and various critiques of political ecology issue prominent across social sciences as well.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Topic 1: Political Ecology: introduction to the field.
  • Topic 2: Theoretical approaches of political ecology.
  • Topic 3: Environment and Development.
  • Topic 4: Climate Change.
  • Topic 6. Nature conservation through a view from the environmental security
  • Topic 5: Land use.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Workshop attendance and activities
    The students should read articles/books that the lecturer will ask them to read and answer the lecturer’s questions concerning the content of articles/books while attending the workshop. There is also a need to make at least one presentation on the topic under study.
  • non-blocking Policy paper
    Policy paper presenting an analysis of one of the political ecology issues worldwide. Issues should be presented in the form of case studies. The list of suggested cases studies will be sent to students before the course starts. The consultations with the lecturer are encouraged to appoint before the topic is selected. The final policy paper (approx. 2000 words) needs to be submitted a week after the final session.
  • non-blocking Final oral examination
    Final oral examination. There will be a face-to-face conversation with students where the lecturer will ask questions concerning both the course content and his/her policy paper. At least two weeks before the exam starts, the students will receive the general list of exam questions. During the exam, students will be asked to answer from 3 up to 10 questions to assess the general knowledge acquired during the course. If a student can answer all questions, he/she will earn the highest grade. If a student does not answer at least one question, then he will earn no points. The lecturer can stop the exam if it is evident that the student cannot answer any question, or do it with an easy step.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 4th module
    0.44 * Policy paper + 0.28 * Final oral examination + 0.28 * Workshop attendance and activities


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bryant, R. L. (2015). The International Handbook of Political Ecology. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Chasek, P. S. . V. (DE-588)132058847, (DE-627)517458594, (DE-576)182491625, aut. (2021). Global environmental politics Pamela S. Chasek and David L. Downie.
  • DUFFY, R. (2014). Waging a war to save biodiversity: the rise of militarized conservation. International Affairs, 90(4), 819–834. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2346.12142
  • Duffy, R. (2015). War, By Conservation.
  • Forsyth, T. (2003). Critical Political Ecology : The Politics of Environmental Science. Taylor & Francis [CAM].
  • Hyden, G. (2002). Politicians and Poachers: The Political Economy of Wildlife Policy in Africa. By Clark C. Gibson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 262p. $70.00 cloth, $26.95 paper. American Political Science Review, 3, 659.
  • Michael Fabinyi. (2012). Fishing for Fairness : Poverty, Morality and Marine Resource Regulation in the Philippines. ANU Press.
  • Oldekop, J. A., Fontana, L. B., Grugel, J., Roughton, N., Adu, A. E. A., Bird, G. K., Dorgan, A., Vera Espinoza, M. A., Wallin, S., Hammett, D., Agbarakwe, E., Agrawal, A., Asylbekova, N., Azkoul, C., Bardsley, C., Bebbington, A. J., Carvalho, S., Chopra, D., Christopoulos, S., & Crewe, E. (2016). 100 key research questions for the post-2015 development agenda. Development Policy Review, 34(1), 55–82. https://doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12147
  • Paul Robbins. (2019). Political Ecology : A Critical Introduction: Vol. 3rd ed. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Sally M. Edwards, Terry D. Edwards, & Charles B. Fields. (1996). Environmental Crime and Criminality : Theoretical and Practical Issues. Routledge.
  • Susan A. Crate, & Mark Nuttall. (2016). Anthropology and Climate Change : From Actions to Transformations: Vol. Second edition. Routledge.
  • Thomas Potthast, & Simon Meisch. (2012). Climate Change and Sustainable Development : Ethical Perspectives on Land Use and Food Production. Wageningen Academic Publishers.
  • Walter Leal Filho, Jelena Barbir, & Richard Preziosi. (2019). Handbook of Climate Change and Biodiversity. Springer.
  • Yapa, L. (1996). What causes poverty?: A postmodern view. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 86(4), 707. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8306.1996.tb01773.x

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • McCarthy, J., Bridge, G., & Perreault, T. A. (2015). The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1004511
  • Scott, J. C. (2020). Seeing Like a State : How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press.