chapter  11
Methods and environmental science in political ecology
ByKarl S. Zimmerer
Pages 19

It is timely yet a formidable challenge to examine the roles of environmental science in political ecology with regard to methods and methodology. This topic is rarely singled out, notwithstanding general discussion in overviews of political ecology (Forsyth 2002; Neumann 2005; Paulson and Gezon 2005; Robbins 2012; Rocheleau et al. 1996; Stott and Sullivan 2000; Zimmerer and Bassett 2003). One of the few stand-alone treatments of methods remains a founding work of more than twenty-five years ago, namely a chapter on measurement in Land Degradation and Society (Blaikie and Brookfield 1987: 49-63). Then, as now, the attention to environmental scientific methods and techniques is recognized as embedded in the design of research and overall methodology, the research topic and its questions, and theory, concepts, and conceptual framework (Sharp et al. 2011). Political ecology today benefits from twodecades-plus of new directions and productive advances. My goal here is to focus on environmental scientific methods and methodology issues as they concern the multiple roles of science currently at work in political ecology. Thus, this chapter looks beyond and seeks to complement a “how-to” perspective. Its focus is designed to account for the mounting importance of environmental issues being interwoven with the concerns of sustainability and justice.