Politische Ökologie: nicht-deterministische, globale und materielle Dimensionen von Natur/Gesellschaft-Verhältnissen
Abstract. Political ecology is a research field comprising studies with a critical perspective on human/nature-relations – critical in both a political and an epistemological sense. Fundamental questions of political ecology, here, are related to just and equal access to resources, their contribution and control, and to the regimes of regulation. The article specifies the empirical and epistemological approaches within political ecology in the last decades. It does not tell a linear history or a single story, because political ecology emerges out of a continuous process of mutual inspirations of academic debates and activist practices. The research strands in political ecology operate with different ideas on how to conceptionalize nature: as social product, technonature, hybrid, or as actant. These conceptualisations are related to different approaches of neo-Marxist and post-structural epistemology. This article discusses the present debate of political ecology in two steps. After introducing a broader perspective of what critique means in political ecology, it gives an account of the various approaches for analysis of both, geographies and materialities of uneven development. The early studies of political ecology explain human/nature-relations as socially produced, related to a Marxist understanding of historical materialism. In recent debates of political ecology, this approach was confronted with a new materialist thinking of more fluid interrelations between nature and non-nature; it also addresses postcolonial studies' claim to decentralize the perspectives on history and geography in order to understand new forms of connectivity of nature and culture.