Distressed Environments: Alternative Governance in Environmental Struggles


Workshop: Distressed Environments

"Alternative Governance in Environmental Struggles"

October 30th 2019, Ghent, Belgium

During the workshop the GIC network wants to explore themes of conflict and governance from a political ecology perspective. We will particularly focus on ‘distressed environments’, by exploring the question; what are the particularities of environmental issues (climate change, conservation, agrarian change, food sovereignty, etc.) in areas that are characterized by populism, protracted violent conflict, authoritarianism, neoliberalism, or crony capitalism for example. Hence, we approach environmental issues as part of other ongoing political and social struggles, by asking how is nature mobilized, destroyed, protected, or the actual object of these struggles? How do unequal power relations continue to impact environmental struggles? And what are possible pathways to truly decolonize the environment?[1] And what are possible alternative ways to address environmental issues, while supporting broader social and political struggles?


The workshop aims to bring together researchers within the GIC network that work on related themes. The idea is to explore synergies and eventually come to possible research collaborations in the future. It is not set-up as a classical workshop with papers, but rather with discussion groups on several related themes and questions. The idea is that every participant clearly chooses one group, and reflects on how their own work relates to the topic. In this way we learn about each other’s' research in an interactive way and create opportunities for synergies. Using seminal publications, video material and other resources we ask the participants to prepare the discussion groups.

We have defined five potential themes of interest:

  1. Environmental Social movements: eco-territorial turn of social movements
  2. Food sovereignty in times of distress
  3.   Conflict, agrarian change and the environment
  4.   Crisis of capitalism, climate change and international politics
  5.   Gender, race and ideology in times of climate change
  6.   … or other proposals, people wanting to facilitate a group

Want to participate?

We will accept a max of 25 participants. If you want to join the workshop, please send the following information to Dorien Vanden Boer at by September 16th 2019.

  • Your CV
  • A short note (max 500 words) on your research focus and how it relates to one of the above mentioned themes. Make sure to include three questions that arise from your research or the field in general that you feel need to be addressed. We are open to suggestions and proposals for other discussion group themes.

We have limited funds available to cover travel and other expenses that are primarily reserved for participants from the Global South.




[1]  See Asiyanbi, ‘Decolonising the environment: race, rationalities and crises’,, last accessed 26.08.2019.

Leave your comment