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

Semester Herbstsemester 2021
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, 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 Note: Special course application and entry requirements!

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

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


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

Limited number of participants (17). Students of the MSD (incl. MSD preparation semester and IJDSD) have a first priority.
Students 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 (third priority).

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 out of 12 CP). No entry requirements for students with focus area in social sciences.
Anmeldung zur Lehrveranstaltung Mandatory application for ALL! Link open from 19.08.21/noon-05.09.21/midnight: https://adam.unibas.ch/goto_adam_fold_744967.html

Login and application possible from 19.08.21/noon on. Login button on top row right hand side of ADAM website. First emails with confirmation of participation will be sent out at the end of the first deadline.

In case of vacancies the online application link remains open until 30.09.21/noon.

Course enrollment on MOnA should be completed by the beginning of the teaching period (withdrawal possible until Monday of week five).
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall wöchentlich
Datum 20.09.2021 – 20.12.2021
Zeit Montag, 14.15-16.00 Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Datum Zeit Raum
Montag 20.09.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 27.09.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 04.10.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 11.10.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 18.10.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 25.10.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 01.11.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 08.11.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 15.11.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 22.11.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 29.11.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 06.12.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 13.12.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
Montag 20.12.2021 14.15-16.00 Uhr Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 02
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, essay. Details according to information of P. van Eeuwijk.
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