Political ecological perspectives on socioecological relations

Thomas J. Bassett, Alex W. Peimer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper highlights the major political ecological perspectives in the Anglophone literature on socioecological relations with emphasis on three main theoretical framings: environmental/social dialectic; environmental constructivism; and the co-production of socionature. These framings resonate with the literature's conceptualization of nature-society relations in terms of the destruction, construction, and co-production of nature. The paper discusses the ontological and epistemological foundations of each perspective, their main methodological approaches, and the signature theoretical contributions to understanding socioecological relations. Case studies illustrate the thematic and theoretical orientation of each perspective. In the conclusion we highlight some of the common theoretical threads that connect these perspectives, notably their dialectical approaches, an emphasis on power relations, the notion that ecology is a social relation, and an emphasis on the nonequilibrium character of socioecological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
JournalNatures Sciences Societes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Co-production of socionature
  • Environmental constructivism
  • Environmental/social dialectic
  • Political ecology
  • Socioecological relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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