The University of Arizona

Public Political Ecology: a community of praxis for earth stewardship

Tracey Osborne

Abstract


Abstract Political ecology is a powerful framework for analyzing the underlying causes of environmental change, yet underutilized for guiding an ethical response to the Anthropocene. In this article, I introduce Public Political Ecology as an approach for practicing engaged scholarship in this moment of ecological crisis. A political, ethical and educational project, public political ecology is influenced by Antonio Gramsci's work on the philosophy of praxis. It therefore operates from the understanding that ideas are a material force capable of transforming society in revolutionary ways, and through a community of praxis within which academics can play important roles by engaging more actively with broader publics. Innovations from public geographies such as participatory action research and mapping, service learning, and social media offer important methodologies and tools for this approach. Public political ecology, then, is a means by which political ecologists can serve as earth stewards and thus finally make good on the field's emancipatory claims. Keywords: Political ecology, engaged scholarship, earth stewardship, public geography, praxis

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v24i1.20970