Alex Loftus
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Joris Gort
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Populist political ecologies? Urban political ecology, authoritarian populism, and the suburbs
in Turning up the heat
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In this chapter we consider the ways in which urban political ecology might develop a critical perspective on the emergence of right wing and authoritarian populisms. The situated, process-oriented approach developed within UPE fits well with recent efforts to relationally interpret a range of authoritarian populist political projects. Where recent literatures are trying to make sense of the relationship between environmental governance and authoritarian forms of rule, there is a risk, nevertheless, that authoritarian populism comes to be viewed as a uniquely rural phenomenon. Instead, we argue that critical scholarship must challenge the metropolitan-core fetishism so often employed by populists, and thereby situate socio-environmental processes more effectively within the spatial forms they give rise to. An urban political ecology approach, understood as a philosophy of praxis attendant to lived processes emerging around distinct socio-ecologies, can become a tool to challenge current populist projects. In such ways, UPE might provide not only better understandings of the current political conjuncture but also point to areas in which a genuinely popular political ecology, one struggling for social and ecological justice, might be developed.

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Turning up the heat

Urban political ecology for a climate emergency


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