Political economy of social-ecological systems in crisis: Sharpening theory tools for praxis

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Conference Paper

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Interim status: Citation only.

Phelan, L., Taplin, R. & Henderson-Sellers, A. (2010). Political economy of social-ecological systems in crisis: Sharpening theory tools for praxis. Paper presented at the ISA annual convention 2010: The annual meeting of the theory vs. policy? Connecting scholars and practitioners, New Orleans, United States.

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2010 HERDC submission. FoR Code: 050101

© Copyright Liam Phelan, Ros Taplin & Ann Henderson-Sellers, 2010


Social-ecological systems are complex systems comprising human-social and ecological elements. Resilience approaches originating in ecology focus on maintaining system function and stability. However in times of systemic crisis (e.g. dangerous anthropogenic climate change) perverse resilience (e.g. structural power of fossil fuel interests) can threaten overall system integrity. Resilience approaches can lack a necessary acknowledgement of the role of politics in human-social systems, and therefore the impact of politics in broader social-ecological systems. Similarly political economic analyses can lack appropriate recognition of the role of ecological reality in political economic crises. In response this paper builds theory by linking key concepts from neo-Gramscian political economic analysis with resilience approaches reflecting social-ecological system dynamism. The objective is to generate a new conceptual approach to better understand the role of politics in social-ecological systems.

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This document has been peer reviewed.