chapter  7
From critique to experiment? Rethinking political ecology for the Anthropocene
ByBruce Braun
Pages 13

Since its emergence in the late 1970s and early 1980s, political ecology has often been described as a ‘critical’ enterprise. While the story has been told in different ways (see the editors’ introduction to this volume), a common narrative holds that in adopting a critical stance political ecology positioned itself against what were deemed ‘apolitical’ and ‘uncritical’ approaches to environmental crisis and environmental change.1 The task that the nascent field set was nothing short of unveiling the political and economic causes of environmental change and mapping their uneven effects. It sought to show not only how environmental change was political through and through, but that theories of ‘ecoscarcity’ and ‘modernization’, and concepts and practices of ‘bourgeois environmentalism’, were themselves political insofar as they naturalized, and thus rendered invisible, a set of power relations and forces shaping environmental change.