'Contemporary populism and the environment'

Commodity & land rushes and regimes (RRUSHES-5) - cheap labour cartoon

What is the relationship between authoritarian populism and the environment? This article explores three themes: environmental governance, social and political representations of nature, and resistance.

Published in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 'Contemporary populism and the environment' by Andrew Ofstehage, Wendy Wolford and Saturnino M. Borras, investigates the relationship between authoritarian populism and its relationship to the environment by exploring the themes of environmental governance, social and political representations of nature, and resistance.

1. Environmental governance
In this section, the authors analyze how governments have increasingly resorted to populist politics to expand extractivism; certain commodities with national security implications have
become key commodities to be protected; and borders, frontiers, and zones of inclusion/exclusion have become flash points.

2. Social and political representations of nature
In the social and political representations of nature section, they analyze settler colonialism and sacrifice zones as organizing principles for relations with the environment.

3. Resistance
In the final section, they review literature highlighting pushback to authoritarian populism from peasant, indigenous and worker movements.

They conclude that variants of populism and authoritarianism are likely to persist amid increasing competition over resources as components of responses to environmental and climate crises.

Read the article online - 'Contemporary populism and the environment'Annual Review of Environmental Resources

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About the Commodity & land rushes and regimes project

Guided by a multi-disciplinary theoretical framework and grounded in empirical work, the project engages in practical policy questions aimed at probing the potential for socially just and ecologically sustainable reforms.

It focuses on three countries which have been global hotspots of commodity and land rushes: Ethiopia, Myanmar and Colombia.

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