Beyond Environmental Security: Complex Systems, Multiple Inequalities and Environmental Risks
The development of environmental security as an academic project is an important contribution in theorising the politics of global environmental change and shifting security contexts, but there are significant problems with the ways in which environmental issues have been incorporated into security discussions. Approaches to theorising environmental questions in international politics in terms of environmental conflict or environmental security tend to reproduce a dualistic understanding of human relations to ‘the environment’ in which humans are either threatened by or pose a threat to ‘nature’. An approach in terms of ecological security does account for changes in the biosphere resultant from human endeavours and understands social relations as ecologically embedded, but it underplays the extent to which multiple and complex inequalities shape the environmental impact of different populations. Drawing on concepts from complexity theory, alongside different elements of political ecologism, it is argued that human relationships with environments are characterised by social intersectionality and complex inequalities. Complexity approaches can help capture the patterns of these relations and understand the co-constitution of human communities and the ‘natural environment’.
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Citation : Cudworth, E. and Hobden, S. (2011) Beyond Environmental Security: Complex Systems, Multiple Inequalities and Environmental Risks. Environmental Politics, 20(1), pp. 42-59.
ISSN : 0964-4016
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : Yes