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(en) Indonesia, anarkis.org - Genealogy Study of Political Ecology BY M FAKHRU RIZA [machine translation]
Sun, 12 Mar 2017 13:06:17 +0200
Background ---- ....there was a time when the science is very advanced as it is today, it
seems we are still very rare to find academics and intellectuals who humbly willing to
explain comprehensively how a political ecology approach appears? What distinguishes it
from a political economy approach? How to integrate the two approaches? Where is the wedge
both approaches? Where is the separation between the two approaches? Review of these
questions is important, not only as a theoretical need, but further as a foundation that
underlies various environmental movements that have sprung up in recent years. ----
Environmental problems today is a central issue of concern for all circles both in
Government, academic and intellectual, to social activism. The emergence of various social
movements in Indonesia on behalf of the environment seems to portray that "ecological
awareness" has been attached and embedded in those who have been, are and will fight for
it. But the reality on the ground often I come across many infected ecological struggle
"paradigm split" or more fatal empty "perspective" . These things make me try to write a
little about the unrest.
Political Economy - Agricultural Studies and Classical Ecology - Ecology Politics
The concept of political ecology with a clear concept of political economy differ from one
another. The concept of political economy appeared to understand and cope with drastic
changes in the system of satisfying human needs, both by understanding the nature of the
need / desire, or to understand how the production and distribution of goods (goods) are.
Referring to Caporaso and Levine (1992, 2003) in the political economy of the classical
period begins after the publication of the Wealth of Nations Adam Smith in 1776 until the
publication of the book Principles of Political Economy by John S. Mill in 1848. Of the
various economic thinkers masterpiece classical political, Karl Marx believed to be an
important political figure of the last economy.
In his very popular, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy , Marx (1859,
1904) describes how a process of production and reproduction of a commodity is always
based on social relations between capital and labor. These views are then used to analyze
the process of transition from an agrarian mode of production (feudal) one to the other
mode of production (capitalism) can be understood by looking at the dynamics or internal
contradiction, namely the relationship mutually determine / influence between the
productive forces with the relation- relations of production. That Marx in one of the
chapters in his book that he called "primitive accumulation". So in short, agrarian
studies is the biological child of Marx's critique of the classical political economy and
is closely related to the spread of capitalism studied by Marx. As a consequence, the
agrarian studies will always use a political economy approach.
Meanwhile, ecological outlook was originally a view of trying to untangle the mechanistic
world view typical of medieval times. Medieval mechanistic view sees the world as an
atomistic separate unit, while the ecological view is a view that sees the world as a
whole is not tepisahkan one another, holistic. According to Capra (2001) in Adiwibowo
(2007), this paradigm shift started in the 1920s in Germany, where at the time of quantum
physics, the biology of the organism, and the psychology of gestalt grow as anti
mechanistic trend in academic circles. Ecological outlook is a logical consequence of the
development of science and the end of the Dark Ages. The period is called Nietzsche as a
bell that marks the death god.
Since the initial introduction of the term "ecology" by Ernst Haeckel in 1866, the
development of these disciplines can never be separated from the tradition until the term
Darwinism Social Darwinism of an American named Richard Hofstadter in 1944. Hofstadter
(1944, 1955) in Weikart (1993) defines social Darwinism as an ideology that uses a
competitive view of seeing the world, and Darwin's concept of "the struggle for existence"
which is applied in social theory as a base ideology. Ernst Haeckel himself is a biologist
who greatly admired Darwin, more than anyone else. He is the person most instrumental in
describing the evolution of ape to human. Speculation on the transition from ape to man
through Pithecantropus alalus (ape-man who can not talk) which is housed in Borneo,
Sumatra and Java eventually inspire Eugene Dubois; Dutch people who do research in the
region and surprisingly discovered Homo erectus as a "missing link" in the evolution of
apes - humans.
Since the emergence of the term ecology, much to develop the knowledge through a wide
variety of approaches. Not limited only to biology, but evolved into the field of social
sciences; goegrafi, anthropology, economics to sociology. Ecological transition from
biological sciences to the social field, starting from the geography that develop
environmental determination approach. Ellen C. Semple (1911) states that all cultures and
human behavior is basically the direct influence of environmental factors (climate,
topography, natural resources, geography). That view according to political ecology expert
Dr. Soeryo Adiwibowo in the lecture session in FEMA-IPB is highly reductive. This view was
concluded that the British people could be reliable because geographically sailor in UK is
the land (islands) surrounded by sea. Arab nations are monotheists since settled in the
empty desert drives them only worship God Almighty. Eskimos are primitive societies,
nomadic and impoverished because of the harsh natural conditions and limited natural
resources. Variety of other approaches such as following each other then posibilisme
approach to environmental, cultural ecology, ecosystem ecology, etc. developed by the
discipline of anthropology. While political ecology emerged as a reaction to the
apolitical nature of the field of cultural ecological studies and studies on environmental
risks (Watts 1983).
Sliced Political Economy with Political Ecology
The term political ecology is already used in the early 1970s. Eric Wolf (1972) used it to
refer to the relationship of land ownership and political management of natural resources.
Ezenberger (1974) used the term to refer to the environmental movement by the bourgeoisie
in Europe and North America in the 1960s and early 1970s, he saw is fundamentally rooted
in capitalism. Therefore, the development of techno-science will not be able to address
the structural causes of the environmental crisis. The term political ecology was first
used in academic publications in the late 1960s, while starting to become the subject of
research in the early 1970s (Forsyth 2003). The term emerged in response to the
theoretical need to integrate the practice of using natural resources with a political
economy approach locally-globally, as well as a reaction to the political development of
the growing environment (Peet and Watts 1996). Political Ecology started developing since
the late 1970s and early 1980s (Satria 2009). Broadly speaking, political ecology is the
type of field research that examines the relationship between the political economy of the
community or society at large to environmental changes (Adiwibowo 2005).
This intellectual currents developed in relation to the background of widespread social
upheaval during the 1960s and early 1970s (Watts 2001). It is a period marked by a wave of
anti-authoritarianism and activism where violence in the streets of Mexico City, Paris,
and Los Angeles. Protests against civil rights, women's rights and environmental movement
in the 1960s and 1970s who later experiences simultaneously shape the experiences of
individual academics that eventually form the social and political context that gave rise
to political ecology itself.
Field of political ecology committed to intensive research and field-based rigorous
empiricism. In addition, the authors of the initial political ecology is affected by the
resurgence of Marxism in the 1960s in the study of political economy and agrarian studies,
as well as the theory of dependency and world system of Andre Gunder Frank, Samir Amin and
Immanuel Wallerstein. Political ecology itself is an epistemological project, which
appears to destroy the established apolitical structure of the relationship between
society and the natural environment. Thus, the beginning of the academic work in the
political ecology seeks to deconstruct the dominant explanation of the time, among others,
about the famine in Nigeria, Nepal soil erosion, and deforestation in Brazil that
previously rooted in the concept of Malthusian over-population. Therein the authors of the
beginning of building an alternative explanation to the phenomenon of the environment,
which is rooted in political economy, marginalization, colonial capitalism, and the abuse
of state authority (Perreault et al 2015).
Intersection Political Economy with Political Ecology
Theoretically, the field of political ecology was arguably more oriented towards a
specific understanding of the range of dynamics in specific locations rather than to
generalize the epistemological framework oriented in a particular discipline. So that's
why this field needs to be balanced by a theoretical framework and diverse disciplines,
which will be able to sustain an explanation for the dynamic. Methodologically,
orientation for understanding in a specific location, combined with deep roots in the
historical search, which means that political ecology must have broader visibility
especially on field-based research methods, especially ethnographic, coupled with in-depth
Blaikie and Brookfield (1987); Bryant (1992); Greenberg and Park (1994); Zimmerer (2000)
in Forsyth (2003) states that political ecology refers to the social and political
conditions that include causes, experience, and the setting of environmental problems. Use
of the term political ecology is growing definition raises a variety of different
In the perspective of structuralism, political ecology appear to agree on two basic
points. First, the environmental problems facing the Third World is not only a reflection
of the failure of the policy and the free market, but rather a manifestation of political
and economic power more widely. The strength associated with the spread of capitalism
around the world, especially since the 19th century Second, political ecology is the need
to see further changes in the process of political economy multiscale; local, regional and
global (Peet & Watts 1996 in Bryant and Bailey 1997).
Ecological perspective of political post-structuralism believes that nature is a "social
construction" because what we noticed, interpret and give meaning comes from direct
experience and cultural repertoire (value systems, traditions, religions, educational
content, etc.), economics, technology, science and myths (Escobar 1996: 46; in Adiwibowo
2005). Post-structural political ecology focuses attention on how, by whom and why
environmental knowledge, discourse and narrative is produced, represented, contested
(Blaikie 1995: 143; Peet and Watts 1996; Adiwibowo 2005).
Liberation Ecologies or who prefer I call the Post Political Ecology is a variety of new
approaches that claim goes beyond the approach of Classical Political Ecology . The term
was introduced by Richard Peet and Michael Watts in his book "Liberation Ecologies;
Environment, Development, Social Movement " in 1996. In his book Peet and Watts (1996)
mentions that the Liberation Ecologies as " .... new theoretical engagement between
political ecology and post-structuralism on the other hand, and practical engagement with
new political movement, organization, and institution of civil society, challenging the
conventional notion of development, politics, democracy, and sustainability on the other "
. The definition involves three approaches science as well, Political Economy, Post
-Strukturalisme, Ecology and Politics itself.
Critics; Eco-Anarchism as a political ecology that transcends
The historical-theoretical elaboration of the above at least shows how the political
ecology approach to post-political ecology has been dominated by the Marxian tradition
which stems from a political economy approach, further than Darwinian evolutionist view.
Post a political ecology actually surpassed anything, he stays in the same tradition and
perspective, only coupled with post-structuralist approach. Darwin was not without
criticism, in 1902 Peter Kropotkin made an essay entitled "Mutual Aid: A Factor of
Evolution" that essentially denied the central thesis of Darwin claimed that in nature
there is also a law of mutual aid to survive and progressive evolution of a species. It is
far more important than the law stating mutual struggle. This description I ever wrote in
my previous article "Sharing Power: Perspectives Egelitarian Natural Resources Management" .
Emptiness perspective Kropotkin and Darwin thought that continuously direpetisi make
eco-anarchism is increasingly alien and taboo for intellectuals who studied and conducted
studies of political ecology. It also led to a lot of the environmental movement who felt
that the fight and struggle is a political struggle ecology (practical), where typically,
the struggle will leave only the political struggle (with kepentinganya), but the struggle
ecological (and their interests) has been lost somewhere.
Bookchin is the most meritorious continue the tradition of thought Kropotkin. Amid the
intellectual emptiness of the notion of "ecological anarchists" who at that time was
dominated by the Marxian tradition. Not only forward, Bookchin also exceeded Kropotkin to
further develop the Mutual Aid his Kropotkin to make the theory of Social Ecology.
Bookchin known to begin to realize about the crisis of environmental developments in 1952,
when he wrote an article entitled The Problem of Chemical in Food where in the article
Bookchin not just talking about environmental pollution, but Bookchin mendudukan problems
environment as social problems are similar and equally important.
In the 1960s the view Bookchin could then be summarized and sharply Formulated by
concluding that the idea of the domination of nature by man, comes from a very real
domination of man against man. Post-1952, various articles and books related to his views
published in which almost all of his work is an effort quest to explain the emergence of
social hierarchy and domination and to explain how, sensitivity, and practices that can
generate an ecological society that is truly harmonious. The book "Post-Scarcity
Anarchism" (1971, 2004) is a pioneer of the vision. The book consists of several essay of
1964 which addressed criticisms over the hierarchy than classes, domination rather than
exploitation, creating institutional freely rather than abolition of the state, compared
with the freedom of justice, contentment rather than happiness. For Bookchin change the
emphasis is not just a rhetorical counter-cultural , these changes mark the removal of the
views of previous commitments in the form of socialist orthodoxy. Bookchin crave what is
referred to as the Libertarian Social Ecology, or what is called Victor Ferkiss as
At that time in the 1960s, words like hierarchy and domination is still very rarely used.
Traditional radicals, especially the Marxists, they speak almost exclusively in terms of
class, a class analysis and class consciousness; their concept against oppression
primarily limited to material exploitation, poverty, and inequality in employment.
Likewise, orthodox anarchists who put most of their emphasis on the State as the source of
all forms of social injustice. Just as the emergence of private ownership as the "original
sin" for the orthodox Marxists, as well as the State is considered the "original sin" for
the Anarchists orthodox. Even in the early 1960s, the use of the term hierarchy is
avoided, and more often referred to as "debates authority", without exploring the origins
of authority, relationship with nature, and its importance for the creation of a new society.
Bookchin then focuses on how should a free society based on ecological principles, may
mediate the relationship between humans and nature. As a result, Bookchin began to explore
the development of new technologies that can be measured comprehensively the human
dimension. Such as, solar technology solar, windmill installations, organic gardens and
the use of local resources, which is done by a decentralized community. That view is
directly aware that it takes a direct democracy, decentralization, self-fulfillment,
self-empowerment in the form of communal social life. In short, the commune which will be
formed is a non-authoritarian community
The view of Social Ecology Bookchin has a socio-political dimension that sharply was in a
pillowcase in the book " Municipalisme Libertarian " written by Janet Biehl him his friend
and successor of thought Bookchin. This is supposed to be referred to as something beyond
political ecology, social ecology where historically separated from the tradition of
political ecology and not rooted in the source of analysis and the same approach.
The author is a student of the Faculty of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Bogor
Agricultural Institute (IPB).
Adiwibowo S. 2005. Dongi-dongi - Culmination of a Multi-dimensional Ecological Crisis: A
Political Ecology Perspective[dissertation]. Kassel (DE): Universität Kassel.
Adiwibowo S. 2007. Human Ecology . Bogor (ID). Human Ecology Faculty-IPB
Adiwibowo S. 2013. Back to the Straight Path. Yogyakarta (ID): Forci Development.
M. Bookchin, 1971, 2004. Post Scarcity Anarchism . Oakland (US): AK Press.
Bookchin M. 2005. The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolation of Hierarchy .
Oakland[US]; AK Press.
Bryant RL, Bailey S. 1997. Third World Political Ecology . London (GB): Routledge.
Caporaso JA, Levine DP. 1992. Theories of Political Economy . London (GB): Cambridge
Enzensberger, HM 1974. A critique of political ecology. New Left Review, 84: 3-32.
Forsyth T. 2003. Critical Political Ecology: The Politics of Environmental Science .
London (GB): Routledge.
Kropotkin P. 1972. Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution ,[US]; New York University Press.
K. Marx, 1859, 1904. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. International
Library Publishing Co.
Peet R. and M. Watts, 1996. Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development, Social
Movements . London (GB): Routledge.
Perreault T, Gavin B, McCarthy J. 2015. Handbook of Political Ecology . New York (US):
Satria A. 2009. Ecology Politics fisherman . Semarang (ID): LKIS.
Semple EC. 1911. The operation of geographic factors in history in Influences of
Geographic Environment . New York: Henry Holt, 1911: 1-32.
MJ Watts. 1983. On the poverty of theory: natural hazards research in context. In: Hewitt,
K. (ed.), Interpretations of Calamity from the Viewpoint of Human Ecology. Boston: Allen &
Unwin, pp. 231-262.
Weikart R. 1993. The Origins of Social Darwinism in Germany from 1859 to 1895. Journal of
the History of Ideas, Inc .
Wiradi G. 1984. Patterns Land Tenure and Agrarian Reform; Two Ages Land Tenure. Editor SM
P Tjondronegoro and G. Wiradi. Jakarta (ID): PT Gramedia.
Wiradi G. 2009. Methodology Agrarian Studies; Selected Works Gunawan Wiradi. Bogor (ID):
Wolf E. 1972. Ownership and political ecology. Anthropological Quarterly , 45 (3): 201-205.
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