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Globalization and the Environment

Greening Global Political Economy

Gabriela Kutting

Publication Year: 2004

This groundbreaking study brings together economic globalization and the environment as never before. Gabriela Kütting argues for an “eco-holistic” approach that merges social, political, economic, and environmental analysis, so that a globalizing political economy may be understood in relation to environmental and social concerns. Key to this merging are the historical dimension of environmental-societal relations, the concept of consumption, and the concept of equity. To illustrate the utility of the eco-holistic approach, Kütting draws out the linkages between social and environmental degradation in West Africa, environmental and economic policies in the North, and the shopping habits of individual consumers, using cotton agriculture and the globalizing political economy of textiles as a case study.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Globalization and the Environment

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v

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pp. vii-x

This book critically examines the concept and processes of a globalizing political economy in relation to environmental and social concerns. Globalization both as a concept and as a process is a contested term—its usage has become generally accepted but there is no definition of what constitutes globalization and its empirical features. Attempts at conceptualizing or theorizing about globalization from an international political economy (IPE) perspective tend to sideline the environmental and social consequences of ...

Part I: The Conceptual Argument for Eco-Holistic Analysis

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1. A Critical Review of Global Political Economy from an Eco-Holistic Perspective

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pp. 3-22

The subject of international or global political economy (IPE or GPE) has established itself as a core International Relations (IR) element in the past fifteen years. However, the IPE/GPE discourse and the environmental discourse within IR have more or less existed side by side and have not cross-fertilized despite obvious linkages. The aim of this chapter is to outline the environmental dimension of core IPE/GPE approaches or, in the absence of a clear environmental dimension, to analyze the potential for an environmental component of these approaches.

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2. Linking Environment and Society

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pp. 23-42

This chapter will investigate the role between environment and society in the globalizing political economy as well as the social and structural origins of environmental degradation. This subject has not previously been researched as such. There are many studies on the various actors in environmental politics and some studies on environmental ideologies (Laferri

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3. Cultural versus Political Economy Approaches: Production and Consumption

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pp. 43-62

This chapter will be concerned with another core type of globalization literature that has received little attention in the International Relations (IR) field but nevertheless makes an important contribution to the literature and practice of globalization. The cultural aspect of globalization has a historical and material perspective in that transnational cultural influences can be traced back to the evolution of empires, the spread of organized religion, and forces such as colonialism, and ideological diffusion.

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4. Equity, Environment, and Global Political Economy

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pp. 63-83

This chapter will explore some of the issues raised in chapters 1–3 and relate them to an equity dimension as the third pillar around which the argument in this book is organized. This is particularly pertinent with respect to the linking of environmental and social studies, as the analysis of environmental degradation is often carried out in the absence of any regard for the social and equity dimension. As global political economy is a topic intrinsically linked to equity and distribution issues, this topic is of prime importance both to environment and to wider global political economy (GPE) issues.

Part II: Eco-Holism in Practice

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5. The Political Economy of Garments, Especially Cotton

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pp. 87-106

In this section, the issues and concepts raised and discussed in chapters 1–4 will be reconsidered and looked at from a more empirical perspective. Cotton and garments have been selected as an illustrative case study because the garment industry is a globalizing industry to which all of the issues and concepts discussed previously pertain. They are both underresearched and at the same time some of the most socially and environmentally degrading industries in existence. This chapter will study the global political economy of cotton production ...

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6. The Case of West Africa

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pp. 107-126

In this chapter, the subject matter of cotton and textiles will be looked at from the angle of a particular region, West Africa. West Africa has seen a recent drastic increase in cotton production in the past decade and is also seen as a region that has very much dropped out of the bottom of the global economy. The quantity of cotton lint production for the whole region of Western Africa increased from 510,873 tons in 1990 to 887,419 tons in 2001, the last year for which figures are available (FAOSTAT, 2002). However, at the same time the value of cotton lint exports decreased from $544,811,000 in 1990 to ...

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7. Conclusion

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pp. 127-137

This book has looked at the various perspectives relating to environment and society and the global political economy and has advocated shifting the focus of mainstream analysis to include a new concept of environment-society relations based on a different historical interpretation of the origins of environmental degradation. At the same time, an eco-holistic political economy approach, as indeed any critical political economy approach, needs to include an understanding of the institutions of consumption and equity in order to offer holistic analysis.


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pp. 139-154


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pp. 155-161

SUNY series in Global Politics

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pp. 163-165

E-ISBN-13: 9780791484869
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791461358
Print-ISBN-10: 0791461351

Page Count: 175
Illustrations: 2 tables
Publication Year: 2004