About us

  • Entitle
  • Maria Kaika
ENTITLE is an EU-funded Initial Training Network under the Marie Curie action of FP7. It is coordinated by ICTA at the Autonomous University of Barcelona with the collaboration of 8 Universities, 2 Non-governmental organizations and 1 Environmental consultancy. ENTITLE will train 18 researchers in the emerging inter-disciplinary field of Political Ecology.
On this website you will find more information about our training activities, the curricula of our courses, the research of our fellows and their mentors, and a useful library with links to important scholars and publications of political ecology. In addition, audiovisual material from our project and from the presentations of members in the network will be updated periodically.

But what is political ecology and how will ENTITLE contribute to it?

Click to read more information below...

Political ecology studies the roots of social conflicts over access and use of the environment. Environmental issues are approached from the lens of social, distribution and knowledge conflicts. The focus is on the power structures that determine resource access. The premise of political ecology is that there are always costs and benefits in environmental change and these are unevenly distributed along lines of class, race, ethnicity or gender.
Environmental problems are in essence political problems involving clashes over alternative futures and clashes between alternative values and imaginaries. Political ecology criticizes a-political explanations of environmental problems and seeks to re-politicize social debate over the appropriate responses to environmental problems.
Anthropologist Eric Wolf was the first to coin the term "political ecology" in 1972, while Blaikie's and Brookfield's "Land Degradation and Society" in 1987 is considered a landmark of contemporary political ecology. Political ecologists come from a variety of fields, most notably geography, anthropology, sociology, environmental history and ecological economics. Political ecology features strongly in rural, urban and development studies. It is a theoretically eclectic field mobilizing insights from political economy, Marxian and critical theory, post-structuralism and social constructivism.
Political ecologists use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodological tools, including ethnography, material flows analysis and cartography. Whereas early political ecology focussed mostly on rural areas and on non-Western countries, more recent political ecology also covers the Global North, and increasingly so processes of urbanization. ENTITLE is the first attempt to build a European network of research and training of political ecology that brings together scholars and fellows from a variety of disciplinary and geographical backgrounds.

Latest Entitle Blog Posts

  • Federici and De Angelis on the political ecology of the commons

    As part of a recent tour across Spain promoting her book Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction and Feminist Struggle (in Spanish here, thanks to the political communication and production project Traficantes de Sueños), the feminist autonomist Marxist Silvia Federici was joined by fellow ...

    by Melissa García Lamarca
    Tuesday, 24 June 2014
  • Documenting political ecologies through film, part IV

    Note: This is the fourth of a five-part entry on the Tales from Planet Earth film festival held on April 9-12 in Stockholm, Sweden (to see the previous entries go HERE, HERE, and HERE). The Festival was organized by ENTITLE member Professor Marco Armiero, director of the Environmental Humanities Lab ...

    by Salvatore Paolo De Rosa
    Monday, 09 June 2014
  • Radical Geography in times of crisis – a Spanish perspective

    The Geography Department of Harokopio University, in Athens, is promoting a serie of radical geography seminars, every Friday at 7 p.m., until the end of June (see the program here). Núria Benach, from the University of Barcelona, was the invited speaker on the last 11th of April. Her talk ...

    by Rita Calvario
    Friday, 06 June 2014
  • Documenting political ecologies through film, part III

      “Je hais les voyages et les explorateurs”(“I hate travels and explorers.”) -C. Lévi-Strauss (1955), Tristes Tropiques[1]   Following our previous two posts (HERE and HERE) on the Tales from Planet Earth film festival in Stockholm, Sweden (9-12 April) this post focuses on the film E ...

    by Gustavo García López
    Tuesday, 20 May 2014
  • Documenting political ecologies through film, part II

    The incisive and thought-provoking opening lecture by Rob Nixon on the first day of the Tales from Planet Earth film festival in Stockholm, Sweden (April 9-12), reviewed HERE, was followed by three documentaries on the topic of waste: Plastic bag (Ramen Bahrani, USA, 2009, 18 min),Trash Dance (Andre ...

    by Gustavo García López
    Tuesday, 20 May 2014
View more blog entries

Upcoming Courses

Entitle Courses

Bogazici University

Summer School on Institutions, Justice, Democracy

June 15 - 20, 2015, Istanbul-Turkey. A one-week intensive school for PhD and post-doc researchers on institutional and political theory with discussions on environmental justice and democracy.

Environment and Management

Project Management and Contribution to Policy

A skills course for Entitle fellows with training on how to organize and implement research, consultancy and demonstration projects, and how to link research to political processes.

Humboldt University of Berlin

Navigating Work Opportunities

A final course that will help prepare Entitle fellows for the next stage in their career, be it in academia, government or the non-profit sector.

Local Courses

Harokopion University of Athens

Scientific Research Methods in Geography

A course designed to teach young geographers the quantitative and qualitative research methods necessary for conducting geographical research, with a special focus on the interpretation and explanation of research findings.

Harokopion University of Athens

Planning and Spatial Development: Theories and Practices

A course on the political economy and ecology of planning. This course politicizes the planning process asking who and how defines problems and how they are to be approached when planning spatial development. The course illustrates how planning is an inherently conflictive process.

Harokopion University of Athens

Local Sustainable Development and Social Resistance

This course, based on a series of case studies discusses the opportunities for sustainable development, with an emphasis on the role of local authorities on the one hand, and social movements on the others. The role of social resistance during environmental conflicts in shaping sustainable outcomes is emphasized.

Harokopion University of Athens

Inequalities and Social Segregation in European Cities

This course looks at the impacts of globalization on metropolitan European cities, teaching students the main theoretical paradigms explaining processes of urbanization and uneven urban development. The focus is on Mediterranean Europe.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Foundation of Ecological Economics

This course introduces the fundamentals of the interdisciplinary field of ecological economics. Concepts with affinity to political ecology, such as the commons, commodification, and land-grabbing are approached through the lens of critical economics, illustrating the partial way such problems are framed by mainstream economics.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Political Ecology

This course introduces graduate students to the basics of political ecology, following the structure of Paul Robbins’ textbook. The different streams of political ecology in geography, anthropology and economics (e.g. urban political ecology, political ecological economics) are identified. Studies are also introduced to advanced concepts, such as governmentality and accumulation by dispossession.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Research Design and Qualitative Methods

This course is designed to treat political ecologists with the tools they will need for their field work, such as interviews, surveys and participant observation. The course also has classes on how to frame a good research question, how to design a conceptual framework and organize a field work, and how to write a scientific article.

Humboldt University of Berlin

Environmental and Resource Economics

This course presents analytical tools from the school of institutionalism for analyzing complex socio-ecological systems. The course includes a series of case-studies and group work by students applying to specific cases the concepts they learned in class.

Humboldt University of Berlin

Institutional Economics and Political Economy

This course addresses the emergence of institutions as a solution to a coordination problem. Coordination problems in various sphere of social life, economic and other, are identified and linked to the institutions that have emerged to regulate them.

Universidade de Coimbra

Reading and discussion group

This is a seminar focussing on seminal political ecology readings in various fields of political ecology, with an emphasis on questions of epistemology.

Universidade de Coimbra

Political economy and ecology of the commons

This workshop addresses the renewed interest on the concept of the commons and reviews the various fields and disciplines that are approaching from different angles the analysis of the commons. The focus is on the development of a political ecology approach to the understanding of the commons.

Universidade de Coimbra

Violence and the environment: resources, conflicts, resistance

This course analyses processes of violence in environmental and development projects. It is explained how the discourse on sustainability may provide a pretext for new practices of exclusion and discrimination.

Research Objectives

Our overriding research objectives are to:

  1. Document and explain the uneven distribution of the costs and benefits of environmental change, analyse causes and responses to environmental conflicts, and propose new institutional arrangements for social and environmental justice.
  2. Reveal how power relations structure access to environmental goods and bads, and envisage democratic systems that ensure a more equal distribution of power in society and more just and ecologically sustainable economic systems.

To address these objectives we focus on five key issues and groups of research questions:

  1. Conflicts:
    Which are the causes of conflicts over the use of the environment and how do these relate to social power (material and discursive)? What is the geography of such conflicts? Is there a trend towards international "environmental load" displacement and unequal exchange?
  2. Commons:
    What are the distributive and environmental consequences of the enclosure and commodification of the commons (water, fisheries, atmosphere, etc) and who and how resists them? Which are some successful rules for managing the commons?
  3. Disasters:
    How do bio-physical and political-economic factors combine to produce "natural" disasters and who benefits and who looses from them? Who is more vulnerable to global ecological-economic change and why?
  4. Movements:
    What are the main features of social movements in defence of the environment and the commons? When and under what conditions are such movements successful? What are the historic origins of these movements and what is their class, gender or ethnic composition? At what geographical scales do they operate, and how are local-global divides superseded?
  5. Democracy:
    What are the essential features of a more just ecological-democratic order and what institutional changes can bring it about?



The project has received research funding from the European Union.

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Our Network

Click on each logo to find out more about the partners in our network and their work in this project.

  • Logo for Universitat de Barcelona
  • Logo for Universidade de Coimbra
  • The University of Manchester
  • Lund University
  • Humboldt University of Berlin
  • Harokopion University of Athens
  • Bogazici University
  • University of Chile
  • Environment and Management
  • Centro di Documentazione sui Conflitti Ambientali
  • Friends of the Earth Middle East

Contact Us


For project related questions, or to join our mailing list and receive updates on the project, contact Marina Utges.
Marina's email: