Working towards paradise; an interdisciplinary theoretical framework for environmental peacebuilding

Josepha Wessels

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Exploring the human-environment nexus and linkages between (post-conflict) political developments and environmental dimensions, this paper reflects on the development of interdisciplinary theories of environmental peacebuilding. Theories of environmental peacebuilding come from a variety of different disciplines within the social and biophysical sciences; warfare ecology (Machlis et al. , 2011), environmental politics, political ecology and environmental peacemaking (Waisová 2017; Dresse et al., 2016; Carius, 2007; Conca and Dabelko, 2002), which are fields of social and biophysical science research. Against a background of constructivist theories of conflict, offering a holistic, multi-dimensional understanding of processes such as war, conflict and conflict resolution (Jackson, 2009), this paper argues that in order to come to some kind of comprehensive theory of environmental peacebuilding, there is a need for several paradigm shifts. The first paradigm shift should take place in the field of peace and conflict studies, going from the liberal peacebuilding to a more holistic approach. The second paradigm shift will have to take place in conservation biology and environmental sciences, from a conventional anthropocentric ecosystem to a Human Ecosystem approach, whereby human beings are integral part of the natural environment, linking the biophysical, terrestrial, physical, cultural and socio-economic components of the environment. The paper will explore further anthropological theories of culture, and how this can be connected with the paradigm shifts. Based on previously carried out fieldwork and a desk-study, two geographical cases will be highlighted in the paper, to dissect the proposed theoretical approaches; the crisis of Darfur and the war in Syria.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAssociation of American Geographers (AAG) 2018 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 2018 Apr 102018 Apr 14


ConferenceAssociation of American Geographers (AAG) 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Free keywords

  • Environmental PEacebuilding


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