Political Ecology - Land Use and Natural Resources in a Local to Global Perspective, 15 credits

About the course

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

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.

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