LEC glasshouses

Political Ecology

Political ecology looks at the relationships between culture, politics and nature.

The Political Ecology group is a distinct and vibrant cluster of researchers and students.  We offer critical perspectives and research on human-environmental issues, particularly the implications of social and environmental relationships and change in the Global South.

We use a combination of approaches and methodologies, working across academic several disciplines. Our group examines how valuable resources, and the benefits that derive from them, are unequally accessed and shared, giving rise to inequalities, conflict, and policy responses. The group's research in rural and urban contexts have included work on mining and extractive industries; livelihoods and moral economies; the politics of land, water, and ‘green’ grabbing; the relationship between climate change and existing social inequalities; fishing and marine ecosystems; forest policy; sustainable transport; poverty and service delivery; and the political economy of global environmental change. We also address the workings of international development, trade (legal and illegal), agri-food systems, and biodiversity conservation.

We work nationally and internationally with a host of academic, government, civil society and private sector partners – including those in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America. We use qualitative and quantitative methods in our research, some of which is co-designed and co-produced with the societies where we work, to support social and environmental justice and sharing of knowledge.

We are a dynamic, diverse and interdisciplinary research group and engage with other clusters of expertise across the University, including:

We also work very closely with members of the Critical Geographies research group, and other groups in LEC, especially the cross-cutting global challenge cluster, Tropical Futures. We are a central node in the international POLLEN network of political ecologists, and the international Journal of Political Ecology is edited from LEC. 

Our teaching spans undergraduate degree programmes in Ecology and Conservation and Geography and several taught and research Masters degrees including Environment and Development and Sustainable Water Management, and a PhD Programme.

We contribute to a number of field-based modules including: