Skip to main content

26 October 2023

New book offers an alternative to Anglo-American narratives of Political Ecology

‘Discovering Political Ecology’, co-authored by Professor Alex Loftus in the Department of Geography, offers students an introduction to the field through diverse traditions.

Indigenous housing Brazil

A new book titled ‘Discovering Political Ecology’ (Taylor & Francis, 2023) explores the origins and evolution of the field of political ecology, debates within the field, and how they relate to global ecological challenges facing us today.

Importantly, the book offers a departure from the common practice of tracing the evolution of political ecology through an Anglo-American perspective. The authors illustrate the international roots of political ecology by drawing on voices and research from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. The book shows how political ecology has been practised in different sites around the world, within and outside academia, co-author Professor Alex Loftus said. 

Political ecology matters more than ever in the context of the global climate crisis because it provides the tools for understanding the politics of our environmental predicament. Through focusing on power, scale and agency, political ecology offers a perspective on both understanding and changing the processes and relations out of which the crisis is produced.

Professor Alex Loftus, Professor of Political Ecology and co-author

Political ecology is a field that brings together ecology and political economy to examine the role of social power, inequalities and conflict in processes of environmental change. It is an interdisciplinary approach to environmental research that draws on fields including anthropology, development studies, ecology, geography, history and political science.

The first four chapters of the book following the introduction introduce the reader to key concepts within political ecology – power, scale, nature and urbanisation. The following four chapters then discuss how these conceptual tools are applied to understand real-world ecological challenges related to water, energy, fields and forests.

If we hope to achieve anything with the book, it would be the kind of shift in perspective that political ecology has opened up for us – a sense that the world is open to change and that we have agency to intervene in shaping better environmental futures.

Professor Alex Loftus, Professor of Political Ecology and co-author

The book is co-authored by Professor Loftus and Dr Gustav Cederlöf, Associate Senior Lecturer at the University of Gothenburg, who completed his PhD from the Department of Geography at King’s in 2017.

The book is written in accessible language and includes comprehensive reading lists for those who want to explore the subject in depth. Suggestions for seminar activities, scenarios and discussions are also included to help educators engage students further in the topics discussed.

In this story

Dr Alex Loftus

Professor of Political Ecology