Political ecology in North America: Discovering the Third World within?

Richard A. Schroeder, Kevin St. Martin, Katherine E. Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Political ecologists working in many other parts of the world are now heading north, or simply going global, posing a series of important questions related to theory, methodology, politics, and policy along the way. This special issue, contains papers originally delivered at a conference held at Rutgers University in 2003 that addressed this phenomenon. The papers collected offer case studies that reveal the First World as subject to a host of processes that can be insightfully understood via a political ecology perspective. First, globalized production and consumption regimes have created new linkages that demand synoptic analyses of often far-flung research sites. Second, the painful coincidence of deindustrialization and a radical restructuring of agricultural credit and price support systems have devastated North American and European heartlands, effectively producing "Third World" conditions in many depressed rural areas. Third, migration streams originating in Latin America, Africa and many parts of Asia have brought sizable Third World populations into the spatial heart of capitalism. Fourth, the belated recognition of some indigenous claims to resources, especially in Canada, and fierce opposition to others, have reopened questions of (internal) colonial domination. Finally, we see the burgeoning First World political ecology literature as the culmination of what Louise Fortmann has called "the long intellectual journey home" for many scholars who originally carried out research on/in the Third World. All of these factors have combined to help political ecologists discover suitable analytical terrain in the First World.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Boundaries
  • Political ecology
  • Third World
  • Uneven development


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