, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 225–231 | Cite as

Political ecology, territoriality and scale

  • Wolfgang Natter
  • Wolfgang Zierhofer


This essay serves as an introduction to this theme issue of GeoJournal and provides a framework for the contributed papers. Territoriality and scale, the essay argues, offer key analytics in approaching the spatiality of the ecological existence of human and non-human beings in their common `house' (oikos), thus of culture-nature relations generally. Such a focus, it bears emphasis, need not reproduce a naturalization of the modern culture-nature binary, but could, as is argued, remind `we moderns' that there is not only one nature (as little as there is only one culture), but a plurality of natures, which can serve the most varied of purposes. However, these spatialities do usually not and can very often not correspond to the spatialities of human activities, particularly to the territorialities and their orders/structures of scale in politico-administrative activities. The scalar literature within political geography, however, has for the most part seen its role as addressing human social relations in its analysis of contestations over power, space, and territory. A political ecology of scale, by contrast, will of necessity need to broaden the terrain of that discussion to include a variety of actors, human and non-human, involved in this broader network. Environmental conservation offers an important illustration of this problematic. A territorial, scalar, and non-modern understanding of ecological regimes is neccesary, argues this essay and the bundle of case studies that follow, because there is no `conservation' outside of a particular politics and geography of ecology.

conservation modernity nature-culture political ecology representation scale science studies territory 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Natter
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Zierhofer
    • 2
  1. 1.University of KentuckyLexingtonU.S.A.
  2. 2.University of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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