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Contentious Geographies: Environmental Knowledge, Meaning, Scale

Contentious Geographies: Environmental Knowledge, Meaning, Scale

Edited by Michael K. Goodman, Maxwell T. Boykoff, and Kyle T. Evered


The human-environment relationship - intimately intertwined and often contentious - is one of the most pressing concerns of the 21st century. Explored through an array of critical approaches, this book brings together case studies from across the globe to present significant cutting-edge research into political ecologies as they relate to multi-form contestations over environments, resources and livelihoods.

Covering a range of issues, such as popular discourses of environmental 'collapse', climate change, water resource struggles, displacement, agro-food landscapes and mapping technologies, this edited volume works to provide a broad and critical understanding of the narratives and policies more subtly shaping and being shaped by underlying environmental conflicts.

By exploring the power-laden processes by which environmental knowledge is generated, framed, communicated and interpreted, Contentious Geographies works to reveal how environmental conflicts can be (re)considered and thus (re)opened to enhance efforts to negotiate more sustainable environments and livelihoods.

Reviews: 'Contentious Geographies is a tour-de-force. The editors link themes of environmental knowledge, meaning and scale across twelve diverse contributors' chapters to provide an insightful, coherent and critical approach to environment–society relationships. The case studies provide lucid illustrations of the political and epistemological basis of "contentious geographies" which lives up to the promise of the book's title.' Piers Blaikie, University of East Anglia, UK

'This engaging and accessible collection calls attention to the importance of knowledge in environmental controversy. In a wonderfully diverse set of essays, the collection makes the case for the significance of both explicit contestation over scientific knowledge and more diffuse and everyday ways of knowing places, environments, resources and people.' Becky Mansfield, Ohio State University, USA

'In the twenty-first century the word environment is almost always shrouded in politics: whose environment are we talking about? Whose environmental knowledge and practice? Contentious Geographies vividly shows how these questions – and the realities to which they speak – are deeply, sometimes violently, contested. Its originality and power is how the book moves "the politics of the environment" – a staple of political ecology – to an examination, through a panoply of rich case studies focusing on knowledges, meanings and scale, the forms and modalities through which the environment is contended. An important and path-breaking volume.' Michael Watts, University of California, Berkeley, USA

'…this book is a welcome addition to the discipline of Political Ecology, which to date has mainly focused on the politics of (environmental) knowledge and meanings with limited explicit consideration of how these manipulate scale and place to favour particular worldviews and policies. … Significant credit must go to the editors for encouraging highly accessible contributions with an excellent balance between theoretical introductions and practical case studies. The book contains some of the clearest and up-to-date introductions to political ecology concepts, sparing readers unfamiliar with the language of the social sciences from too many '-alities' and '-isms'. Although aimed at a wide academic audience, the excellent contributions and variety of case studies makes it essential reading to practitioners and students in geography, environmental and development studies.' Land Degradation and Development

'…accessible and pleasantly concise responses to the central questions of the volume.' Environment and Planning A