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

Semester Herbstsemester 2020
Angebotsmuster Jedes Herbstsemester
Dozierende Piet Van Eeuwijk (peter.vaneeuwijk@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt The seminar is full, no course application possible anymore. No enrollment on MOnA possible anymore.
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, cultural 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 all societies of the Global South 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 (for example 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 and current 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'?; permaculture - a new ideology in environment-friendly agriculture? Invasive new species: blessing or curse ... or both?
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), global mobility (e.g. from eco-tourism to travelling viruses) 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, historical perspectives and social sciences 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);
- modes and qualities of ecology-induced fields of conflicts, frictions and problems.
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. 2020. Political ecology: A critical introduction. 3rd Ed. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.
- Roussopoulos, Dimitri I. 2018.Political ecology: The climate crisis and a new social agenda. 3rd Ed. Montreal: Black Rose Books.
- 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 The seminar is full, no course application possible anymore. No enrollment on MOnA possible anymore.

Note: Special course application and entry requirements!

Credit transfer MSD 2017
Credits may be transferred to the "Focal Areas in Sustainability Research" module (learning agreement). Students who have chosen the focus area in social sciences may also accredit the seminar for the published module.

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


Teilnahmebedingungen The seminar is full, no course application possible anymore. No enrollment on MOnA possible anymore.

Special course application required for ALL (for details see 'course application' or 'Anmeldung').

Limited number of participants (16). Students of the MSD, MSD preparation semester or IJDSD have a first priority; those of the mentioned fields of study (see list of modules) have a second priority.
If you study something different you must do at least a master's degree within the Department of Social Sciences (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) and may attend the seminar in case of vacancies.

Students of the MSD who have chosen the focus area in natural sciences or in economics must have completed the module 'Complementary Knowledge in Social Sciences' (or at least earned 8 CP). No entry requirements for students with focus area in social sciences.
Anmeldung zur Lehrveranstaltung The seminar is full, no course application possible anymore. No enrollment on MOnA possible anymore.

NOTE: Be aware of special entry requirements. Course inscription via MOnA remains mandatory for all participants.
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall wöchentlich
Datum 17.09.2020 – 17.12.2020
Zeit Donnerstag, 14.15-16.00 - Online Präsenz -
Datum Zeit Raum
Donnerstag 17.09.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 24.09.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 01.10.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 08.10.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 15.10.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 22.10.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 29.10.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 05.11.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 12.11.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 19.11.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 26.11.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 03.12.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 10.12.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Donnerstag 17.12.2020 14.15-16.00 Uhr - Online Präsenz -, --
Module 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 with handout, written 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