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Political Ecology - Land Use and Natural Resources in a Local to Global Perspective

Land use, natural resource use, provisioning and sustainable development must be analyzed from several perspectives; where the social, cultural economic, and ecological are increasingly being included.

Equally central, but less often acknowledged, are issues of power and political systems, and the processes in time and space that affect them. Is the market economy a stimulus for local agricultural development? Does it promote a sustainable use of natural resources? Or is it a threat to local provisioning and security? How is income from agriculture distributed within society, e.g. between men and women, and between urban and rural areas? Who owns the rights and/or the power to define what is a sustainable versus a non-sustainable use of natural resources? Researchers in developed countries? The UN? A local political elite? Local communities?

The course covers the use of land and other natural resources at local to global scales, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. The theoretical block presents the emergence and development of political ecology within research, and includes comparisons with other scientific perspective on land use and natural resource management (e.g. geographic landscape analysis and resilience theory).

Another key element of the course is case studies, where examples of local communities' use of land and water resources are analyzed both from a physical and human geographical perspective. The course provides skills highly relevant in a dynamic and growing multi-disciplinary research focus, where political ecology is discussed in relation to parallel scientific perspectives. The course provides knowledge about natural resource management in relation to a problematization of key issues pertaining to environmental processes and provisioning.

The course moreover provides insights into environmental, historical and social conditions of importance for sustainable natural resource use at different scale levels. The course finally gives exercise in applying political-ecological theories and methods for the analysis of land use issues.

These and many other topical and future key issues are dealt with within political ecology.

  • Course structure


    • Theory and Methods, 10 credits
    • Project, 5 credits

    Teaching format

    The education consists of lectures, seminars, exercises and project work.


    For details see syllabus.


    Annika Dahlberg and Andrew Byerley

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

  • Course reports

  • Contact

    Registration is normally done at the beginning of each semester. 

    Student office
    Kerstin Hörnby

    Study counsellor
    Maria Damberg

    Course responsible
    Annika Dahlberg

    Andrew Byerley