Institutt for geografi

Power in political ecology

This workshop at the University of Bergen explores the concepts of power used in political ecology, and is organised by the Norwegian Research Network on Political Ecology and Environmental Policy and the Norwegian Researcher School in Geography, and is organised by the Department of Geography, University of Bergen.

Rice fields


In political ecology, analyses of conflicts in the exploitation, governance and knowledge of the environment and environmental resources form key objects of study. These analyses focus on the involvements of resource users, NGOs, states, planners and (multi)national companies or other actors, including researchers, in material and discursive struggles over access, control and meanings of resources, spaces and landscapes. Identifying power and diverse ways through which power is gained, legitimized, exercised and resisted by different actors in environmental resource governance and at multiple scales is crucial. Understanding power from both structural and actor-oriented perspectives has thus been essential in political ecology, although the concept is not always clearly defined in this field.


This workshop explores the concepts of power used in political ecology. We aim to provide insight into the theories of power explicitly or implicitly used in political ecology, exemplified by cases from all parts of the world.


If you wish to participate (without a paper) please send an e-mail within 5 November to: ragnhild.overa@uib.no


Thursday 26th November

08:30  Registration


08:50  Welcome and introduction


09:00  Keynote: Power and the causes of vulnerability

           Jesse Ribot, University of Illinois


09:55  Keynote: Power, oil, scale

           Håvard Haarstad, University of Bergen


10:50  Break


11:00  Paper session 1: Discourses and contested meanings


The Privatization of the Common Good; Applications of Climate Change and Sustainable Development Rhetoric.

Hans Geir Aasmundsen, UiB Global


Clean Development Mechanisms in Africa: Plantations, exclusions and conflicts – discourses and power.

Erlend Eidsvik, Bergen University College


Contested Renewable Energies and the (unequal) Power of Discourses.

Rosa Lehmann, University of Freiburg


Imposing the Power of Meaning: Events of Contest over Animal and People Categories in the Kola Peninsula, Northwestern Russia.

Vladislava Vladimirova, Uppsala University


13:00  Lunch


13:45  Paper session 2: Governance dilemmas in mountain environments


Negotiating the power to produce and profit: Understanding the local-nonlocal relations of caterpillar fungus governance in Tibetan China.

Michelle Olsgard Stewart, Amherst College


How wild are the reindeer? Knowledge and power in a regional wild reindeer planning process in Norway.

Eirin Hongslo, Norwegian University of Life Sciences


The Rhythm of the Mountain: A transdiciplinary rhythmanalysis of landscapes of temporality and morality.

Frode Flemsæter, Centre for Rural Research


Contradictory perceptions of power relations in a contested and multifunctional mountain landscape - implications for environmental management.  

Annika Dahlberg, Stockholm University


Conservation of a “use-mountain”:  Knowledge in the Management of a Landscape Conservation Area in southern Norway.

Frode Sundnes, Norwegian University of Life Sciences


16:15  Break


16:30  Paper session 3: Multi-scalar governance and resistance


What lens at what scale? Exploring the relationship between the way of seeing power and scale.

Qian Zhang, Stockholm University


Hybrid governmentality, transnational spaces and neoliberal conservation: ‘Glocal’ governance in the Ponta do Ouro partial marine reserve, Mozambique.

Kate Symons, University of Edinburgh


Power in the Age of the Darknet.

Brett Sylvester Matulis, University of Leicester


Understanding a Global Urban Political Ecology through the Dredge Cycle in North Sea and New Zealand Ports.

Seth Gustafson, Bremen University


Food sovereignty in Colombia: seed certification as property rights to agro-biodiversity, enforcement, controversies and the seed freedom movement.

Emma Jane Lord, Biodiversity Foundation, Cali


Friday 27th November

09:00  Keynote: Power, intersectionality and authority

           Andrea Nightingale, Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences


09:55  Keynote: Power in planning

           Tim Richardson, Norwegian University of Life Sciences


10:50  Break


11:00  Paper session 4: Political ecologies in post-colonial Africa


The Political Ecology of Water and Power in southern Africa.

Bill Derman, Norwegian University of Life Sciences


Killing to make human? Civilising violence, scientific forestry, and the ‘Dorobo question’ in Kenya Colony.

Connor Joseph Cavanagh, Norwegian University of Life Sciences


Power, technology and renewable energy: Political Ecology meets socio-technical systems thinking.

Helene Ahlborg, Chalmers University of Technology


Power through structural reciprocal relations: Ghana’s state formation processes and ‘power’ in resource access.

Festus Boamah, University of Bergen


13:00  Lunch


13:45  Paper session 5: Natural resource governance and communities


High-value natural resources and transparency.

Päivi Lujala, Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Elite Capture and Corruption in Community-Managed Natural Resource Funds in the Mining Sector.

Kendra E. Dupuy, Chr. Michelsen Institute


Land-use conflicts between reindeer husbandry and mineral extraction in Finnmark, Norway: Contested rationalities and the politics of belonging.

Kathrine Ivsett Johnsen, Norwegian University of Life Sciences


Changing constellations of power: The shifting role of the state in water governance.

Synne Movik, Norwegian Institute for Water Research


15:45  Ending remarks