Ecologies of hope: Environment, technology and habitation - case studies from the intervenient middle

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Abstract

This paper is an introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Political Ecologyon "Ecologies of Hope." The authors argue that discrete, specific, and often, local actions can create spaces that are bettering human lives and livelihoods. The five papers identify actions and movements that are situated in the "middle" between the individual and larger social and economic formations, and inbetween social and economic status- quo and revolution. They are everyday initiatives that do not make revolutionary claims, but whichin small but significant ways, help transform the lives of people andcommunities. These "ecologies of hope" resonate with the work of Karl Polanyi, and his identification of themodern disembedding of the economy and the environment from its societal and cultural context. Polanyi argued that processes that result in a loss ofcultural "habitation" engender movements by societies to protect their social solidarity, and distortions of their relationship with the natural environment. Creating and carving out "ecologies of hope" maynot mitigate catastrophic global change or miraculously transform the unjust into the just, but does make life and livelihoods a bit more habitable. For people whose lives are affected, this matters. Political ecology should recognize the importance of creating spaces for "habitation" that are notnecessarily structural and scalable.

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Rajan, S. R., & Duncan, C. A. M. (2013). Ecologies of hope: Environment, technology and habitation - case studies from the intervenient middle. Journal of Political Ecology, 20(1), 70–79. https://doi.org/10.2458/v20i1.21758

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