A pioneering reputation: Assessing Piers Blaikie's contributions to political ecology

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Abstract

This paper assesses the key contributions made by Piers Blaikie to the field of political ecology. Those contributions relate to the way in which this scholar has sought to dismantle barriers to thought by: (1) integrating the insights of political economy with those from environmental science, (2) opening up theoretical space in political ecology by engaging fruitfully with post-structural critiques, (3) moving beyond a narrow area-studies and development studies focus, and (4) helping to internationalise the research field beyond its core American base. The paper also highlights ambiguity in the role played by Blaikie in political ecology, as stances that he has taken in his work have provoked wider debate over the field's purpose and coherence. Ensuing tensions over theory and practice as well as single versus multiple truths persist yet, pace Blaikie and others (e.g. Robbins), a robust political ecology is nonetheless able to consider what people 'do' from a healthy diversity of theoretical positions. The multiple contributions of Piers Blaikie underpin a reputation for having produced a pioneering body of work that has inspired scholars across theoretical, empirical and disciplinary boundaries, thereby ensuring that his will be a reputation that is interpreted and re-interpreted for many years to come. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708 - 715
Number of pages8
JournalGEOFORUM
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

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