2002 volume 34(7) pages 1281 – 1302

Cite as:
McCarthy J, 2002, "First World political ecology: lessons from the Wise Use movement" Environment and Planning A 34(7) 1281 – 1302

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First World political ecology: lessons from the Wise Use movement

James McCarthy

Received 22 July 2001; in revised form 29 January 2002

Abstract. The author demonstrates, through a case study of the Wise Use movement, that the insights and tools of political ecology have much to offer in the study of First World resource conflicts. He uses theories and methods drawn from the literature concerning political ecology and moral economies to argue that many assumptions regarding state capacity, individual and collective identities and motivations, and economic and historical relations in advanced capitalist countries are mistaken or incomplete in ways that have led to important dimensions of environmental conflicts in such locales being overlooked. The argument is based mainly on the author's own research on the Wise Use movement in the rural American West of the 1980s and 1990s but also draws on other recent work in political ecology, historical and economic geography, and environmental history.

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