The University of Arizona

The political ecology of voice (PEV); an innovative approach to examining environmental pollution and the accountability of economic actors

Adrian Gonzalez


In this article, I use Albert Hirschman's consumer-based 'exit' and 'voice' concepts in order to set out the political ecology of voice (PEV), an innovative theoretical framework that aims to examine the causes of environmental pollution from a new angle. I begin by providing a brief overview of political ecology, and why it provides such a useful framework from which to position Hirschman's ideas of exit and voice. This will lead into a more detailed analysis of Hirschman's theories in an environmental context, and why the use of voice by various stakeholders (citizens, community based organizations (CBOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)) is dependent upon a number of political, economic, social and geographical factors over a specific temporal period. The study of voice through PEV will enable researchers to examine the accountability of economic actors for incidents of environmental pollution.

Keywords: Albert Hirschman, political ecology of voice

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