Articles | Volume 71, issue 4
Geogr. Helv., 71, 245–257, 2016

Special issue: Special Edition Social Geography: Natur, Gesellschaft, Materialität:...

Geogr. Helv., 71, 245–257, 2016

Standard article 17 Oct 2016

Standard article | 17 Oct 2016

Land als Ressource, Boden und Landschaft: Materialität, Relationalität und neue Agrarfragen in der Politischen Ökologie

Daniel Münster and Julia Poerting Daniel Münster and Julia Poerting
  • Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, Heidelberg University, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract. The Anthropocene reorients the agrarian question as an ecological question of planetary scale. Rather than resolving the inherent tension between political economy and the biophysical environment by moving political ecology closer to the natural sciences, we propose an active engagement with impulses from the environmental humanities and anthropological engagements with alternative ontologies. The relational political ecology of agriculture that we outline in this article draws on feminist science studies, multispecies ethnography, new materialism and critical geography. We show the relevance of a relational approach to agriculture as a natureculture entanglement by reviewing three conceptualisations of land in political ecology in relation to our anthropological research in South India (Münster) and geographical research in Northern Pakistan (Poerting). Notions of land as resource, land as soil and land as landscape respectively exemplify shifts in theoretical and political engagements with agriculture in the Anthropocene. A relational political ecology of agriculture incorporates these theoretical sensibilities and brings them in conversation with ontological politics of agro-ecological movements who respond to the variegated crises of the anthropocene. We suggest a perspective on agrarian landscape assemblages as coproduced by histories of capitalist transformations and the (affective) relations between humans, other species and materials.