Political ecology: a new paradigm on the basis of old idea

TERRA ECONOMICUS, , Vol. 13 (no. 4),

The paper discusses the modern phenomena occurring in socio-economicecological spheres of the Earth which are interpreted by various schools of thought as «a geological era of Anthropocene», «colonisation of the Earth’s ecosystem», «market environmentalism», «ecological modernization of capitalism». Within the limits of a paradigm of political ecology (PE) under formation where policy and power have already become the research objects, the concept of «ecological modernization» (EM) is dominating, although it hides behind the «utilitarian» and «romantic» pseudo-dichotomy the real reasons of conflicts of the interests underlying global ecological crisis. The analysis of processes of formation of the PE paradigm has allowed to highlight the key element of the EM concept which, by the author’s opinion, is the concept of alienation newly discovered in works of modern Marxists where it usually accompanies the concept of «the new neoliberal nature of capital». Alienation as a phenomenon which reveals itself at various levels. It shows an epistemological character in academic sphere which is caused by narrow specialization in a vast number of directions of modern medical, biological, economic, sociological, ecological and other types of research. The problem of overcoming of such an alienation could be solved with the help of transdisciplinary research and commonly accepted approaches to the «life tree». In ecological, social and economic spheres the phenomenon under consideration reveals itself in the form of alienation of people from their living places, and also alienation of special zones («zones of sacrifice») and other elements of planetary ecological system that is caused by the nature of capital. The author argues that it is necessary to recognize policy, power and ecology to be parts of the same «world – convention». Overcoming of existing alienation should be recognized as an essential problem of a healthy minded community, and these processes should start from an open declaration of values.

Keywords: political ecology; ecological modernization of capitalism; zones of sacrifice; the Marxist approach

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Publisher: Southern Federal University
Founder: Southern Federal University
ISSN: 2073-6606