Politics and the Environment in Eastern Europe

Politics and the Environment in Eastern Europe Eszter Krasznai Kovacs (ed.)
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'Politics and the Environment in Eastern Europe' is a wonderful volume that makes an excellent set of unique contributions to the political ecology and political anthropology of Eastern European environmentalism, environmental policy and the post-socialist transition. In fact, there is no other project like it as far as I am aware of, and the collection of engaging and critical chapters will surely be a sought-after resource for the present and future scholarship of the region. The project is timely and significant and will help to push theory and ethnography forward into new and fresh areas of inquiry.
Edward Snajdr, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Europe remains divided between east and west, with differences caused and worsened by uneven economic and political development. Amid these divisions, the environment has become a key battleground. The condition and sustainability of environmental resources are interlinked with systems of governance and power, from local to EU levels. Key challenges in the eastern European region today include increasingly authoritarian forms of government that threaten the operations and very existence of civil society groups; the importation of locally-contested conservation and environmental programmes that were designed elsewhere; and a resurgence in cultural nationalism that prescribes and normalises exclusionary nation-building myths.

This volume draws together essays by early-career academic researchers from across eastern Europe. Engaging with the critical tools of political ecology, its contributors provide a hitherto overlooked perspective on the current fate and reception of ‘environmentalism’ in the region. It asks how emergent forms of environmentalism have been received, how these movements and perspectives have redefined landscapes, and what the subtler effects of new regulatory regimes on communities and environment-dependent livelihoods have been.

Arranged in three sections, with case studies from Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Serbia, this collection develops anthropological views on the processes and consequences of the politicisation of the environment. It is valuable reading for human geographers, social and cultural historians, political ecologists, social movement and government scholars, political scientists, and specialists on Europe and European Union politics.

Politics and the Environment in Eastern Europe
Eszter Krasznai Kovacs (ed.) | July 2021
342pp. | 27 Colour Illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781800641327
ISBN Hardback: 9781800641334
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781800641341
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781800641358
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781800641365
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781800641372
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0244
Subject codes: BIC: RNKC (Conservation of the environment), RNKH (Conservation of wildlife and habitats), RND (Environmental policy and protocols); BISAC: NAT010000 (Ecology), NAT011000 (Environmental Conservation & Protection), SCI026000 (Environmental Science). OCLC Number: 1262131675.

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Introduction: Political Ecology in Eastern Europe Download
Eszter Krasznai Kovacs

Part I

1. The Dismantling of Environmentalism in Hungary Download
Eszter Krasznai Kovacs and György Pataki

2. The Making of the Environmental and Climate Justice Movements in the Czech Republic Download
Arnošt Novák

3. The Construction of Climate Justice Imaginaries through Resistance in the Czech Republic and Poland Download
Mikulás Černěk

4. Gaps of Warsaw: Urban Environmentalism through Green Interstices Download
Jana Hrckova

Part II

5. Far-right Grassroots Environmental Activism in Poland and the Blurry Lines of ‘Acceptable’ Environmentalisms Download
Balsa Lubarda

6. Contorted Naturalisms: The Concept of Romanian Nationalist Mountains Download
Alexandra Coțofană

7. A (Hi)Story of Dwelling in a (Post)Mining Town in Romania Download
Imola Püsök

Part III

8. The Shifting Geopolitical Ecologies of Wild Nature Conservation in Romania Download
George Iordăchescu

9. Domesticating the Taste of Place: Post-Socialist Terroir and Policy Landscapes in Tokaj, Hungary Download
June Brawner

10. A Geographical Political Ecology of Eastern European Food Systems Download
Renata Blumberg

11. What is Not Known about Rural Development? Village Experiences from Serbia Download
Jovana Dikovic

12. Failure to Hive. A Co-narrated Story of a Failed Social Co-operative from the Hungarian Countryside Download
Éva Mihalovics and Zsüli Fehér

Concluding Thoughts Download
Eszter Krasznai Kovacs, György Pataki, Arnošt Novák, Mikulás Černěk, Jana Hrckova, Balsa Lubarda, Alexandra Coțofană, Imola Püsök, George Iordăchescu, June Brawner, Renata Blumberg, Jovana Dikovic, Éva Mihalovics and Zsüli Fehér

List of Figures

Renata Blumberg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at Montclair State University, in Montclair, NJ. She has a BA in Anthropology from Columbia College, Columbia University, an MS in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Minnesota. Most of her research has been on alternative food networks in eastern Europe, but she has recently started a project in the USA on efforts to improve access to farmers’ markets. Her other research interests include feminist pedagogy and critical dietetics.

June Brawner is a Policy Adviser at the Royal Society of London, UK. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Georgia in 2019. She has conducted research in Hungary since 2010, receiving a Mellon-Council for European Studies Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2018–2019) and Fulbright Study Award (2016–2017). She earned an MS in Crop and Soil Sciences from UGA (2018) and an MA in Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary (2011). She has worked and published on many interdisciplinary projects related to food justice, human rights, rural development and musicology.

Mikuláš Černík is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Environmental Studies of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. His research focuses on resistance to coal mining in the Czech Republic and Poland. He is also involved in the climate justice movement Limity jsme my, and is a member of Re-set, a platform for socio-ecological transformation.

Alexandra Coțofană’s research explores intersections of politics, modernities and ontologies of governing. Alexandra’s scholarly interests focus on political ecologies, the ontological turn, the study of political elites and ways of governing, as well as the occult as a tool for governing, and discursive techniques employed in populist imaginaries to form racial, gender, and political Others.

Jovana Dikovic is a social anthropologist currently running her postdoctoral research project at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies of the University of Zurich, where she also teaches. In her career, she has focused on and studied the rural Balkans. Her research and publications are mainly concerned with understanding change in rural areas, the ethics of production and soil, institution building and cooperation. In her ongoing project ‘Farming under barricades: Study of cooperation in post-conflict Kosovo’, she analyses farming in the context of post-war institutional anguish and stabilisation of inter-ethnic relationships.

Jana Hrckova is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Central European University in Budapest. Her current research focuses on air pollution and green infrastructures in Warsaw.

George Iordăchescu currently researches illegal logging and the timber trade as part of the BIOSEC Project at the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, UK. He approaches forest crime from a political ecology perspective while tracing the socio-economic entanglements of deforestation and related illicit businesses in Romania and the EU. Over the last few years, George has undertaken fieldwork in the Romanian Carpathians and Poland, focused on private conservation projects, customary land governance and forest livelihoods. His Ph.D. thesis, completed at the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca, investigated the production and protection of wilderness in eastern Europe. In the coming years, George will start a new research project investigating the illegal wildlife trade in European species, in which he will combine approaches from political ecology and green criminology.

Eszter Krasznai Kovács is a Lecturer in Environment, Society and Politics at University College London. Her research looks at how conservation and environmental management are thought about and realised between ‘centres’ and ‘peripheries’, such as between the urban and rural, the European west and east, the Global North and South. She has a particular interest in farming and food systems and agricultural policy’s effects on biodiversity, water and farmers’ livelihoods.

Balsa Lubarda is an environmental sociologist and a doctoral student at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University (Hungary). His research explores the ways in which the far right engages with environmental and agricultural politics in post-socialist realms. Balsa is principally interested in how ideological amalgamations, conveyed through metaphors and framing, mobilise social action.

Éva Mihalovics is a Ph.D. researcher at the Geography Department of Durham University. Her Ph.D. project, ‘A Quest for the Local in the Hungarian Countryside’, aims to explore how different ontologies and different understandings of other-than-humans become recognised and acknowledged or ignored and denied in sustainable agricultural social enterprises in rural Hungary. Éva deploys a decolonial approach to the CEE (semi)peripheries in her work.

Arnošt Novák is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University in Prague. His main research interests include environmental movements and environmental politics, commons, urban activism, and autonomous politics. He is the author of The Dark Green World: Radical Ecological Activities in Czech Republic After 1989 (SLON, 2017, in Czech). His texts have appeared in Journal of Urban Affairs, Social Movements Studies, Communist and Post-Communist Studies and Baltic Worlds.

György Pataki is a Senior Researcher for the Environmental Social Science Research Group (ESSRG), an independent research SME. He belongs to the European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE) and is interested in diverse research streams ranging from biodiversity and ecosystem services to solidarity economy and social innovation. He is committed to participatory and action-oriented research methodologies and practices.

Imola Püsök, University of Pécs, Hungary, is currently a Ph.D. student in anthropology, carrying out research in villages that are a part of the commune of Roșia Montană, with a special focus on Corna. She is interested in (post)industrial communities and post-socialism, modes of living, economic anthropology, dwelling and the landscape, the production of space and place and understanding change.