Greenmentality: A Political Ecology of the Green Economy in the Global South

Greenmentality: A Political Ecology of the Green Economy in the Global South

The primary objective is to investigate green governmentality ("greenmentality") in ecotourism, carbon forestry and climate-smart agriculture and reactions from below in selected cases from East Africa and India.



The research will focus on ecotourism, carbon forestry and climate-smart agriculture as expressions of this new green economy. It will be carried out by a strong interdisciplinary and international team consisting of both experienced and promising young scholars. The project will apply a novel approach to understanding current environmental governance in the Global South, and not only because of the newness of the green economy itself. The project also develops a novel conceptual approach by combining Michel Foucault's notion of 'governmentality' (understood as the techniques and tactics of government) with theories of resistance, social agency and critical institutionalism. We believe this theoretical combination retains the potential to break new ground in environmental governance studies by combining a focus on power and authority with one on agency, rights, and institutions. The ambition is thus to develop an understanding of the interplay between structural power and individual agency as played out in the context of global economic and environmental change in the Global South. While the current outline is ambitious, we also believe it is realistic in view of the team consisting of experienced scholars from both the North and the South, who can document excellent publication records and have good access as well as strong working relationships in the research sites.


The primary objective of this project is to investigate three distinct forms of green governmentality and their reactions from below in selected cases from East Africa and India. The secondary objectives are: 1. To analyse how discourses and policies of the green economy are translated into new institutional, land-use, and other governance arrangements. 2. To compare how greenmentality is perceived by different social groups, in accordance with socioeconomic characteristics such as class, caste, and gender, to what extent it is met with reactions from below, and with what effect. 3. To investigate to what extent greenmentality leads to conflicts over access to land and natural resources. 4. To appraise the potential and feasibility of food sovereignty and land sovereignty as alternatives to the green economy. 5.To compare and synthesize findings across cases to build a general understanding of the determinants of specific arrangements for greenmentalities.

More about the project

What type of governance does the unfolding green economy lead to in the Global South? How does it influence rural production systems and how do rural people respond to its implementation? These are the main questions that this research project will investigate through detailed empirical fieldwork in a selection of cases in East Africa and India.