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First World political ecology: lessons from the Wise Use movement


  • James McCarthy


The author demonstrates, through a case study of the Wise Use movement, that the insights and tools of political ecology have much to offer in the study of First World resource conflicts. He uses theories and methods drawn from the literature concerning political ecology and moral economies to argue that many assumptions regarding state capacity, individual and collective identities and motivations, and economic and historical relations in advanced capitalist countries are mistaken or incomplete in ways that have led to important dimensions of environmental conflicts in such locales being overlooked. The argument is based mainly on the author's own research on the Wise Use movement in the rural American West of the 1980s and 1990s but also draws on other recent work in political ecology, historical and economic geography, and environmental history.

Suggested Citation

  • James McCarthy, 2002. "First World political ecology: lessons from the Wise Use movement," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(7), pages 1281-1302, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:34:y:2002:i:7:p:1281-1302

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    Cited by:

    1. Amanda Poole & Anastasia Hudgins, 2014. "“I care more about this place, because I fought for it”: exploring the political ecology of fracking in an ethnographic field school," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 4(1), pages 37-46, March.
    2. Tol, Richard S.J., 2017. "The structure of the climate debate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 431-438.
    3. Behrsin, Ingrid & Benner, Chris, 2017. "Contested spaces and subjectivities of transit: Political ecology of a bus rapid transit development in Oakland, California," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 95-103.

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