Our overriding research objectives are to:
- 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.
- 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:
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?
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?
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?
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 At what geographical scales do they operate, and how are local-global divides superseded?
What are the essential features of a more just ecological-democratic order and what institutional changes can bring it about?