Articles | Volume 71, issue 4
Standard article
17 Oct 2016
Standard article |  | 17 Oct 2016

Politische Ökologie des Postsozialismus

Matthias Schmidt

Abstract. The consequences and effects of the socialist experiment are still felt today, a quarter century after the system change in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The political, economic and social transformation processes which occurred in this period have only partially led to a convergence with the West. The former socialist societies show, to this day, striking differences and specific paths, which is why "postsocialism" as an explanatory category is still of relevance. Although political ecology was established decades ago, its research activities touching various fields and resulting in numerous studies conducted in rural and urban contexts around the world, there are hardly any political-ecological studies that deal with the post-socialist reality of Eurasia. A central field of political ecology stems from questions about the relationships between political and socio-economic transformation processes, on the one hand, and poverty, vulnerability and environmental change, on the other. Such problems occur in a particularly striking manner in the former "Second World" countries. Here, the spatial and temporal multiscalar approach of political ecology appears well suited to analyse the transformations of human-environment relationships. Political-ecological studies in the post-socialist sphere must take into account some special features, such as the legacy of socialist modernization, the disastrous environmental damages of the planned economy or the reconfiguration of institutions. This article discusses the conceptual particularities and challenges for a political ecology of post-socialism.