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A strengthened approach to the study of political ecology

Political ecology (PE) is the study of relationships between political, economic and social factors and environmental issues and changes. An EU-funded project has advanced the interdisciplinary nature of this emerging field in Europe through research and training.
A strengthened approach to the study of political ecology
The project ENTITLE (ENTITLE. European network of political ecology) established a research and training network of private sector and non-governmental organisations to strengthen the study of PE and help it mature into a distinctive supra-disciplinary field. Incorporating training, research, dissemination and career development components, the project worked to build links between PE research, consultancy and action in the private and NGO sectors.

A total of 12 early-stage researchers and 7 experienced researchers from different research backgrounds and disciplines joined the network to further theory and approaches. Aiming to advance the theory, methods and social relevance of PE, the research focus was on commons, conflicts, democracy, disasters and social movements.

Training involved specialized intensive courses, including Advances in PE Theory, Research Design and Methods, Research for Civil Society, and Navigating the Job Market. ENTITLE hosted summer schools on 'Commons, Conflicts and Disasters', 'Social Movements' and 'Institutions, Justice, Democracy'. The events were hosted at various organisations throughout Europe. Early-stage researchers completed secondments to both academic and non-academic entities.

Project efforts also targeted international collaboration. Partners organised the first-ever Latin American conference on PE in Chile and participated in an annual conference at the University of Kentucky in the United States. ENTITLE mentors and fellows also helped initiate POLLEN, a network of political ecologists in Europe.

Beyond participation in more than 200 conferences, dissemination activities included 157 seminars, 59 workshops and 40 public events. Adding to its impact, ENTITLE members published a series of papers, articles and chapters in journals, books and the mainstream press, as well as a project video.

Findings from the research projects have been presented in 19 action briefs for civil society stakeholders and in 11 policy briefs for policymakers. The ENTITLE Manual for NGOs communicates the findings from all individual research projects and offers basic insights on PE and their usefulness to organised civil society and environmental organisations.

ENTITLE's pioneering programme ensures a critical mass of young political ecologists contributing knowledge and action about complex environmental problems. Overall, the project has contributed a new approach to the causes of environmental problems and how best to resolve them.

Related information

Keywords

Political ecology, research and training, ENTITLE, civil society, environmental problems
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