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15995-01 - Seminar: Political Ecology and Societal Transformations from Anthropological Perspective 3 KP

Semester Herbstsemester 2019
Angebotsmuster Jedes Herbstsemester
Dozierende Piet Van Eeuwijk (peter.vaneeuwijk@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt Substantial societal transformations in the Global South encompass, for instance, urbanisation (linked with mobility and migration movements), reconstruction of the physical environment ('landscaping'), economic structural conversions, demographic change and processes of social reconfiguration as well as further alterations such as change of lifestyle ('urbanity') and of leisure activities (linked with tourism). In reference to these comprehensive and big reconfigurations, political ecology postulates that ecological problems caused by these transformations have to be considered within their historical, political, economic and social context and also to be investigated against this multiple background. Thereby, the analysis of environmental complications focuses on the revealing, identification and visualisation of the (vested) interests, the power of control, the balance of power and the power relations of (directly and indirectly) involved actors and their discourses – with a commitment to a future-oriented justice, equity and sustainability.
The dynamic being inherent in these reconfigurations in societies in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania shows two meaningful characteristics: 1. The very high pace of these on-going transformations; and 2. the very big number of humans being affected by these processes. It is therefore not surprising that the sustainability of (until now) existing structures and initiated developments in these countries is not ensured anymore due to the velocity of the changes and the quantity of concerned people.
The social sciences gradually begin to study and analyse the causes and the effects of these transformations in the mentioned societies. In doing so, their research perspectives shed light (up to now) on these changes only within social and cultural agentic entities (e.g. community, household) and hardly on the impact on humans’ physical environment and its (mostly negative) repercussion on the societal contexts.
This course will address different actual topics in the light of sustainable development and the above-mentioned transformations as well as of political ecology, as for example: the urban space as future ‘hot spot’ with multiple life worlds and ways of utilization; logging, mining and oil drilling activities in sensible environments and communities: nature and culture versus the triangle ‘power, politics and money’ in the extraction world; water as important global resource and simultaneously of vital importance: whose water is it in the future?; ecotourism: its impact on natural resources and social/cultural environment – or is ‘eco-‘ really ‘eco-‘?; the marine space between hope and hazard, conservation and overexploitation; ‘ecohealth’: health/illness in the intersection of men-nature-anthropocene; global warming: are local answers enough?; ‘biofuel’ and the outcomes of food for energy production: how sustainable is ‘bio-‘?; food and nutrition in global competition: first culture, then nature?; sustainability under high scrutiny: adjusted environment and development programmes – but whose perspective do they represent?; national parks and the power and impotence of different stakeholders; eco-labelling: a current epidemy or rational qualification?; the fate of the ‘commons’ – or new stimuli for a more just and fairer model of sustainability and equity such as 'earth rights'?
The global flows and the debates about sustainability have revealed that many ecology-focused phenomena affect both Global South and Global North and cannot be ascribed anymore to one world region. We may think about climate change (e.g. climate change migrants), food consumption (e.g. meat production and its consumption; oil palm cultivation and food industry) or commodity trading (e.g. global commodity trading industry, its infrastructure and its financial business). Such dynamics involve more and more ourselves in very direct ways (e.g. as consumer, citizen, broker and/or producer).
With regard to the described transformations and general interactions ‘culture-nature’ this course poses four general questions:
1. Which impact do these above-stated societal transformations exert on the physical environment (man > nature)?
2. Which effects in reverse do these global or local environmental processes have on the stated societal transformations (nature > man)?
3. Which qualitative assessment and judgment is generated as well by political ecology (for instance, power structures, political economy, in/equity, historicity)?
4. Do new approaches or perspectives/viewpoints of sustainability emerge from these findings?
Lernziele The participants know and understand:
- the fundamental contents of contemporary ‘political ecology';
- anthropological approaches, perspectives and interpretations with regard to ‘nature-culture’ relations and 'cultural ecology';
- potential effects of current societal transformations (with a main focus on Global South) on physical environment (based on actual examples);
- the quality of interdependency ‘social environment-physical environment’ against the backdrop of these changes (in Global South and Global North, based on actual examples);
- potential consequences of global environmental changes on societies who undergo these transformations (i.e. the intersection of global-local realities).
Literatur Introductory Literature:
- Biersack, Aletta and Janus B. Greenberg (Eds.). 2006. Reimagining political ecology. Durham: Duke University Press.
- Bryant, Raymond L. (Ed.). 2015. The international handbook of political ecology. Cheltenham and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
- Forsyth, Tim. 2003. Critical political ecology: The politics of environmental science. London: Routledge.
- Lockyer, Joshua and James R. Veteto (Eds.). 2015. Environmental anthropology engaging ecotopia: Bioregionalism, permaculture, and ecovillages. Oxford: Berghahn.
- Neumann, Roderick P. 2016. Making political ecology. New York: Routledge.
- Peet, Richard, Paul Robbins and Michael Watts (Eds.). 2011. Global political ecology. London: Routledge.
- Perreault, Tom, Gavin Bridge and James McCarthy (Eds.). 2015. The Routledge handbook of political ecology. London: Routledge.
- Robbins, Paul. 2012. Political ecology: A critical introduction. 2nd Ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Stott, Philip A. and Sean Sullivan (Eds.). 2000. Political ecology: Science, myth and power. London: Arnold.
- Zimmerer, Karl S. and Thomas J. Bassett (Eds.). 2003. Political ecology: An integrative approach to geography and environment-development studies. New York: The Guilford Press.
Bemerkungen Note: Special course application and entry requirements!

Anrechnung MSD 2010
Gemäss publizierten Modulen oder mittels LC für den Vertiefungsbereich Phil.-Hist.

Credit transfer MSD 2017
Credits may be transferred to the "Focal Areas in Sustainability Research" module (learning agreement).

This seminar is offered by MSD, PD Dr. P. van Eeuwijk holds a teaching assignment.


Teilnahmebedingungen Special course application required for ALL (for details see 'course application' or 'Anmeldung'). Course application in a different way then explained ARE NOT taken into account.

Limited number of participants (25), Students of the MSD and those of the mentioned fields of study (see list of modules) have priority.
If you study something different you must do a master degree within the 'Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences'/Department of Social Sciences, and may attend the seminar in case of vacancies and former application as explained.

MSD 2017
Students who have chosen the Focus area in Natural Sciences or in Economics must have completed the module 'Complementary knowledge in Social Sciences'. No entry requirements for students with Focus area in Social Sciences.
Anmeldung zur Lehrveranstaltung Mandatory application for ALL! Link open from 14.08.19y/noon - 04.09.19/midnight:


Login and application possible from 14.08.19/noon on. (Login button on top row right hand side of ADAM website)

NOTE: Be aware of special entry requirements. Course inscription via MOnA remains mandatory for all participants..

In case of vacancies the online application link remains open until the second week of teaching + 2 days.
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien Online-Angebot obligatorisch


Intervall wöchentlich
Datum 18.09.2019 – 18.12.2019
Zeit Mittwoch, 14.15-16.00 Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Datum Zeit Raum
Mittwoch 18.09.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 25.09.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 02.10.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 09.10.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 16.10.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 23.10.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 30.10.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 06.11.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 13.11.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 20.11.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 27.11.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 04.12.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 11.12.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Mittwoch 18.12.2019 14.15-16.00 Uhr Vesalianum, Seminarraum (O2.02)
Module Modul Kernbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaftliche Nachhaltigkeitsforschung (Masterstudium: Sustainable Development (Studienbeginn vor 01.08.2017))
Modul: Fields: Environment and Development (Master Studiengang African Studies)
Modul: Fields: Governance and Politics (Master Studiengang African Studies)
Modul: Kernbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften (Masterstudium: Sustainable Development)
Modul: Resources and Sustainability (Master Studiengang Changing Societies: Migration – Conflicts – Resources )
Modul: Theory and General Anthropology (Master Studienfach Anthropology)
Modul: Ungleichheit, Konflikt, Kultur (Master Studienfach Soziologie)
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung Regular attendance (mandatory), required readings, oral presentation, essay.
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung An-/Abmelden: Belegen resp. Stornieren der Belegung via MOnA
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala 1-6 0,1
Wiederholtes Belegen beliebig wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Universität Basel
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Nachhaltigkeitsforschung