بوم شناسی سیاسی و شناخت شناسی عدالت اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21652||2008||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6390 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 39, Issue 2, March 2008, Pages 756–764
Piers Blaikie’s writings on political ecology in the 1980s represented a turning point in the generation of environmental knowledge for social justice. His writings since the 1980s demonstrated a further transition in the identification of social justice by replacing a Marxist and eco-catastrophist epistemology with approaches influenced by critical realism, post-structuralism and participatory development. Together, these works demonstrated an important engagement with the politics of how environmental explanations are made, and the mutual dependency of social values and environmental knowledge. Yet, today, the lessons of Blaikie’s work are often missed by analysts who ask what is essentially political or ecological about political ecology, or by those who argue that a critical approach to environmental knowledge should mean deconstruction alone. This paper reviews Blaikie’s work since the 1980s and focuses especially on the meaning of ‘politics’ within his approach to political ecology. The paper argues that Blaikie’s key contribution is not just in linking environmental knowledge and politics, but also in showing ways that environmental analysis and policy can be reframed towards addressing the problems of socially vulnerable people. This pragmatic co-production of environmental knowledge and social values offers a more constructive means of building socially just environmental policy than insisting politics or ecology exist independently of each other, or believing environmental interventions are futile in a post-Latourian world.
One of the most distinctive themes in the writings of Piers Blaikie over the years is a strong political imperative and desire to correct social injustices. On the first page of The Political Economy of Soil Erosion in Developing Countries, Blaikie (1985, p. 1) wrote: ‘[this] is not a neutral book. It takes sides and argues a position because soil erosion is a political-economic issue, and even a position of so-called neutrality rests upon partisan assumptions’ (emphasis in original). Yet, despite such statements, it has become almost accepted wisdom that Blaikie’s early work was somehow underpoliticized. Reviewing this famous book in 1997, Michael Watts (1997, p. 77) wrote, ‘the distinctively political content of political ecology was (and is) sadly missing in much of Blaikie’s work …’ What does this statement mean about the application of ‘politics’ in political ecology? At one level, this comment refers to the generally uncomplicated analysis of political processes in Blaikie’s early work – a criticism Blaikie later acknowledged (Blaikie, 1997, p. 79). But at a wider level, this statement also indicates differences in opinion concerning the normative objectives of political ecology versus its analytical procedures. Blaikie clearly expressed political intentions in his work, but Watts believed his methods were insufficient. This paper argues that Piers Blaikie’s writings on political ecology should not be dismissed as being underpoliticized, but instead be seen as important first steps for a new and engaged focus on the politics of environmental epistemology (or, what we know about environment, with whose inputs, and with what effects). Rather than seeking to demonstrate how a particular approach to ‘politics’ could be applied to predefined notions of ‘environment,’ Blaikie sought instead to demonstrate how social values and environmental knowledge are co-produced. Moreover, he tried to show that changing these values, or diversifying the social framings of environmental analysis, may result in more socially just environmental knowledge and policy. But at the same time, Blaikie’s own approach to achieving these objectives changed over time. In the early 1980s, he and his collaborators relied upon a generally structuralist Marxian analysis of environmental and social change. After this period, Blaikie rejected structuralist analysis and instead sought more locally-determined, discursive and participatory approaches to environmental crisis and social vulnerability. These different approaches, and their implications for how environmental knowledge is made, have raised further challenges for providing a socially relevant direction to physical environmental science and policy. This paper assesses Blaikie’s contributions to political ecology, and in particular his approach to the co-production of environmental knowledge and social values. The paper starts by reviewing Blaikie’s (and his collaborators) work during the early 1980s, and then moves on to summarise Blaikie’s proposed alternatives to structuralist analysis. After this, the paper considers the criticisms and dilemmas resulting from this and political analysis of environmental epistemology in general. The paper concludes by arguing that Blaikie’s approach to reframing environmental knowledge in the terms of social justice also offer insights for wider debates about the politicized collection and use of knowledge in environmental analysis. Insights from critical science and the sociology of scientific knowledge may provide useful ways to build on Blaikie’s work.