Power, Land, and Materiality
Project's title: Power, Land, and Materiality: Global Studies in Historical-Political Ecology as a Framework for Assessing Policies for ”Sustainable Development” (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agriculture and Spatial Planning)
Project's duration: 2008-2010
Contact person: Alf Hornborg
The project consolidates a coherent, trans-disciplinary theoretical and methodological framework for studying processes of long-term environmental change. Building on previous research as well as six empirical case studies in South America, Africa, and Asia, it brings together a network of Swedish expertise on the subject as the core of a national “think-tank” capable of assessing empirical case studies of long-term sustainability from different parts of the world in the light of a well-founded theoretical framework.
The consolidation and elaboration of this theoretical framework – tentatively called “global historical-political ecology” – is thus an important aim of the project, but can only be conducted through continuous interaction and engagement with the empirical case studies.
The central analytical perspectives developed in the project emphasize that landscapes must be understood as the cumulative material imprints of historically successive patterns of land use reflecting shifting regional and global relations of economic and political power. The study of how global power structures transform human environments over time is increasingly crucial for the formulation of policies adequate to attain sustainable development.