Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 548150
Title Speaking Power to “Post-Truth”: Critical Political Ecology and the New Authoritarianism
Author(s) Neimark, Benjamin; Childs, John; Nightingale, Andrea J.; Cavanagh, Connor Joseph; Sullivan, Sian; Benjaminsen, Tor A.; Batterbury, Simon; Koot, Stasja; Harcourt, Wendy
Source Annals of the American Association of Geographers 109 (2019)2. - ISSN 2469-4452 - p. 613 - 623.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2018.1547567
Department(s) WASS
Sociology of Development and Change
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Abstract

Given a history in political ecology of challenging hegemonic “scientific” narratives concerning environmental problems, the current political moment presents a potent conundrum: how to (continue to) critically engage with narratives of environmental change while confronting the “populist” promotion of “alternative facts.” We ask how political ecologists might situate themselves vis-à-vis the presently growing power of contemporary authoritarian forms, highlighting how the latter operates through sociopolitical domains and beyond-human natures. We argue for a clear and conscious strategy of speaking power to post-truth, to enable two things. The first is to come to terms with an internal paradox of addressing those seeking to obfuscate or deny environmental degradation and social injustice, while retaining political ecology’s own historical critique of the privileged role of Western science and expert knowledge in determining dominant forms of environmental governance. This involves understanding post-truth, and its twin pillars of alternative facts and fake news, as operating politically by those regimes looking to shore up power, rather than as embodying a coherent mode of ontological reasoning regarding the nature of reality. Second, we differentiate post-truth from analyses affirming diversity in both knowledge and reality (i.e., epistemology and ontology, respectively) regarding the drivers of environmental change. This enables a critical confrontation of contemporary authoritarianism and still allows for a relevant and accessible political ecology that engages with marginalized populations likely to suffer most from the proliferation of post-truth politics. Key Words: authoritarianism, environmental policy, political ecology, post-truth, science.

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