Scientific articles of the team members

Irina Velicu & Stafania Barca (2020) "The Just Transition and its work of inequality, Sustainability", Science, Practice and Policy, 16:1, 263-273, DOI: 10.1080/15487733.2020.1814585

Abstract: Changing our relation to the environment in a democratic way implies questioning models and methods of socioecological relations—including work relations. This article critically discusses the notion of a “just transition” toward democratic sustainability as developed at the intersection between climate justice and labor politics. We invite an expansion of ideas of socioenvironmental and labor justice based on Jacques Rancière’s “method of (in)equality,” which problematizes justice theories and the politics of identitarian-group recognition. Our argument is that since both ecological and social crises are produced via inequalities a just transition can be a transition out of the logic of unequal relations—rather than just out of fossil fuels. We posit that socioecological justice in political action can be based on the assumption of equality, the “scandalous” democratic principle according to which political agency belongs to subjects without them having to prove any particular subjectivity worthy of recognition. We thus invite connecting sustainability discourses with a critique of the processes through which subjects become subaltern in the first place, being ascribed unequal positions mostly via violent means such as dispossession and subordination.

Irina Velicu (2019) "Prospective environmental injustice: insights from anti-mining struggles in Romania and Bulgaria", Environmental Politics, DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2019.1611178

Abstract: The concept of prospective environmental (in)justice (PEJ) is proposed to make sense of situations in which development proposals and the actions of state and market actors create injustices even before the development projects become a material reality. Through this concept and its application to two cases of opencast gold-mining, a broader conceptualization of socio-environmental (in)justice is invited that considers multiple forms of injustice of rural communities in Romania and Bulgaria during more than a decade of waiting for the ‘actual harm’ of mining to happen. The mere prospects of opencast gold-mining have, in fact, shed light on deep-seated and ongoing dimensions of socio-environmental injustice such as, land-grabbing, slow community disappearance and marginalization, daily psychological damage, disavowal of alternatives and disqualification as political subjects. These injustices experienced collectively could be seen as constitutive moments of systemic violence.

Irina Velicu (2019) "De-growing environmental justice: Reflections from anti-mining movements in Eastern Europe", Ecological Economics, 159, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.01.021

Abstract: While the critique to economic growth is quintessential in the degrowth scholarship, one may observe a similar focus in various environmental justice movements around the world. This is particularly visible when it comes to the increasing perception that mega-development projects are both unjust and unsustainable, threatening the survival of people and environments. In this paper, we illustrate this focus by looking at two anti-mining movements in Eastern Europe (EE): Save Rosia Montana (Romania) and Krumovgrad (Bulgaria). The local movements describe open cast mining (even in the prospective phase) as potential destruction of basic sources of life (material commons such as water or crops, and community relations). The paper emphasizes a dynamic involved in doing environmental justice, or ‘de-growing EJ’: affected communities organize themselves by ‘staying in place’, producing alternative economies, organizing local democratic institutions. What potentially ´´grows´´ here, is a societal imaginary of justice on how to reproduce the socio-ecological conditions of life by protecting and re-defining traditional means of production and grassroots practices, knowledge, wealth, and values.

Rita Calvário, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, Joseba Azkarraga (2019) "Solidarities from Below in the Making of Emancipatory Rural Politics: Insights from Food Sovereignty Struggles in the Basque Country", Sociologia Ruralis, DOI: 10.1111/soru.12264

Abstract: Exclusionary and regressive politics are on the rise globally. How do food sovereignty struggles help counter these forces? We ground our analysis on how EHNE‐Bizkaia, a Vía Campesina member organisation in the Basque Country, conceptualises and practices food sovereignty. Inspired by Massey’s ‘politics of place beyond place’ and Featherstone’s work on left politics and solidarity, we shed light on the ways that this organisation mobilises food sovereignty to establish political bonds between those marginalised by neo‐liberalism, helping to construct political identities and enact forms of subaltern agency that challenge uneven power relations and geographies. We argue that ‘solidarity from below’ is key in building an emancipatory rural politics rooted in class‐based alliances, intersectionality, and internationalism as well as non‐exclusionary notions of sovereignty. The article provides theoretical and empirical insights on what constitutes an emancipatory politics of food sovereignty that has the potential to act as a counterforce to right‐wing populism.