Title: Converging political ecology and environmental justice disciplines for more effective civil society actions against macro-economic risks: the case of South Africa

Authors: Llewellyn Leonard

Addresses: Department of Tourism, University of Johannesburg, Bunting Road Campus, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, 2006, South Africa

Abstract: This paper explores the potential to converge the theory of political ecology with the environmental justice discipline as means to promote more effective civil society actions against macro-economic risks, whilst analysing the case of South Africa. Such a convergence could result in mutual benefit for both arenas that already share a commitment towards justice. Whilst political ecology has focused on theoretical perspectives, which are mostly applied in rural areas, and examined justice in a larger macro-economic framework, environmental justice has been confined to an empirical focus at a local urban level, which is unable to link local struggles to larger political economic frameworks. Additionally, both arenas generally view civil society as coherent entities that act against the state and industry. Both disciplines should re-evaluate geographic scales and reconfigure romanticised understandings of civil society actions in order to attain justice.

Keywords: political ecology; environmental justice; civil society; risks; South Africa.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2018.089273

International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2018 Vol.17 No.1, pp.1 - 18

Received: 03 Dec 2016
Accepted: 25 May 2017

Published online: 11 Jan 2018 *

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