One: Community, development and popular struggles for environmental justice

This chapter provides an introduction and theoretical overview of the book. It explores how the environment is a key battle ground and location for struggle, as economic decision making in the interests of capital accumulation lead to cost shifting onto the environments of those with least economic or political leverage. Building on the lasting legacies of colonialism and settler colonial relations, in the current stage of neoliberalism this environmental-economic dumping has become increasingly acute and systematic. Moreover, it has generated new waves of self-reflective community action and social movement processes in which community development plays a role. Such resistance draws on the rich yet conflicted theoretical resources which have developed through academic labour around analysing the social practices of community, development and environmental justice as well as the intellectual work of ordinary people engaged in material struggles to change the world from where they live and work and make community.

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