Human Geography

Our Human Geography list tackles the big issues, from equality to population growth to sustainability, publishing in cultural and social geography, development geography, political geography, qualitative and quantitative research methods and urban geography.

The list includes internationally renowned names such as Danny Dorling, Loretta Lees and Anne Power. We publish a range of formats including research books that bridge theory and apply it to practice.

Human Geography

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Land, Labour and Movements Beyond Environmentalism

Sixty years ago an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling development to continue. However, the increasing focus on spaces and species to be protected saw questions of human work and histories of colonialism pushed out of view.

This book traces a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. It focuses on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. Many of these movements did not consider themselves ‘environmental,’ and yet they offer vital ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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In this chapter we revisit our arguments by drawing out our key ideas around aesthetics, specifically focusing on resonance and disagreement. These two concepts form the building blocks for an alternative way of cultivating change to the ‘environmentalist way of seeing’, whose limitations we lay out in a fresh way. This brings us to our coda, which is more of an afterword.

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This chapter focuses on the period after 2010–2012, and we contrast the way that momentum and resonance are built around ‘techno-fix’ type environmental solutions that place emphasis on globalised markets in environmental futures, with new kinds of imagining inspired by global gatherings of Indigenous and rural groups in the name of ‘earth politics’. Invoking at once a commitment to materiality and ‘earthiness’ and to diverse cosmologies, earth politics include room for multiple possible worlds and invites dialogue between them, rather than starting from presumed agreement and universal starting points.

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Sixty years ago, an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling new forms of green economic growth. The result has not only been an acceleration of planetary breakdown but the intensification of global inequalities.

In this book we trace a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. We focus on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. We follow the ways that coalitions between movements continued to thrive where environmental action remained connected with decolonial and livelihood struggles. Many of these coalitions did not consider themselves ‘environmental’, and yet they offer ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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Sixty years ago, an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling new forms of green economic growth. The result has not only been an acceleration of planetary breakdown but the intensification of global inequalities.

In this book we trace a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. We focus on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. We follow the ways that coalitions between movements continued to thrive where environmental action remained connected with decolonial and livelihood struggles. Many of these coalitions did not consider themselves ‘environmental’, and yet they offer ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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In this chapter, we expand and unpack some of the major arguments in the book. We revisit the history and formation of modern environmentalism, exploring some of its key assumptions. We emphasise three important blindspots that have been configured by this specific history – (anti)colonial geography, struggles over land and livelihoods, and lived ecologies – proposing these as productive entry points for a counter-history of modern environmentalism. Finally, we use the title of the book to clarify what this project will, and will not, set out to do, as well as situating our own research and commitments as authors. The chapter also includes two boxes on denaturalising environmentalism and provincialising environmentalism.

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This chapter identifies a key conjuncture in the development of modern environmentalism in the period 1968–1974. On the one hand, ideas of a single, shared global environment were emerging as the basis for international collaboration and planning frameworks. On the other hand, radical social movements interrupted the idea of ‘one-worldism’, as colonised peoples, women, people of colour, students and workers refused to be exploited within imperialist and capitalist systems. While such transnational movements did not always directly address issues of environmental degradation or biodiversity, we emphasise how much these adjacent movements were part of the same field of ideas and nourished environmental debates.

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This chapter focuses on the consolidation of environmental governance narratives and management practices during the 1980s and 1990s – as well as the emergence of important counter-movements to protest these tendencies. We note during this period that social movements seeking to render perceptible concerns relating to resource extraction and harms relating to the industrialisation of the global food system choose to do so by names other than environmentalism. This focus also allows us to draw out the central concern with aesthetics in the book, which is to say, the ways that resonance is and is not created by social movements, collectives and the articulation of new iconographies.

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Sixty years ago, an upsurge of social movements protested the ecological harms of industrial capitalism. In subsequent decades, environmentalism consolidated into forms of management and business strategy that aimed to tackle ecological degradation while enabling new forms of green economic growth. The result has not only been an acceleration of planetary breakdown but the intensification of global inequalities.

In this book we trace a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. We focus on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. We follow the ways that coalitions between movements continued to thrive where environmental action remained connected with decolonial and livelihood struggles. Many of these coalitions did not consider themselves ‘environmental’, and yet they offer ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

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This chapter focuses on the early geographies of environmentalism in the 1960s, with an emphasis on chemicals, pesticides and the industrial food system. In this chapter we revisit the legacy of Rachel Carson, who is remembered as a seminal figure in the making of environmentalism, making clear the contributions of other, less-well remembered figures and movements, including migrant farmworkers’ unions in California, and movements against the early Green Revolution in Mexico.

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