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
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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