Article by c j cavanagh and d himmelfarb in antipode


Increasingly, political ecologists invoke the concept of “green grabbing” to refer to the ways in which processes of accumulation by dispossession articulate with various imperatives for environmental protection. This paper traces these contemporary processes to their roots in the colonial era, focusing on how dispossession in the name of environmental protection intersects with complex historical geographies of state formation and internal territorialisation. Drawing upon the case of Mount Elgon in Britain's Uganda Protectorate, in particular, we reconstruct the ways in which the interrelated “birth” of both conservation and transcontinental agrarian markets were intimately connected to the emergence and normalisation of the colonial state itself. In doing so, we propose the term necropolitical ecology as a framework to encompass the ways in which contemporary “green grabs” partially emerge from racialised modes of colonial appropriation, the violence of which often still lingers in agencies and institutions of environmental governance in the contemporary postcolony.

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Published 3. June 2014 - 13:18 - Updated 29. October 2018 - 14:49