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April 6, 2008

About ecopolitology

ecopolitology [EE-koh-pol-i-TOL-uh-jee] n. The emergent discipline of inquiry concerned with the theory, description, and analysis of the inescapable intersectionality of ecology and politics...or something like that.

Although ecopolitology is a word, it isn't considered one in the English language - at least not yet. If you google ecopolitology you'll find mostly references to this blog, but you will also find a couple of Russian and Eastern European uses of the word to describe the academic study of humans and nature.

To be honest, I thought I had made it up along with a couple of colleagues of mine a few years back in grad school. I was taking an environmental political theory seminar and we were were reading lots of postmodern and post-structural works about the politics of nature, the social construction of nature, the role of science in democracy, etc. I believe we had been reading Bruno Bruno Latour's Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy, in which he had talked about the different '-ology' suffixes used in various disciplines of scientific inquiry (i.e. zoology, biology, geology, theology, sociology, etc.).

My colleagues and I wondered why there was no 'politology' in US parlance, just 'political science.' I honestly think that the earliest practitioners of political science, as a field of academic inquiry, were so self-conscious about it's position relative to the other sciences that they had to add the word 'science' to help bring some legitimacy to the fledgling discipline. Can you think of (m)any other disciplines where they have felt compelled to add the word 'science' to the end of it? Personally I like 'politology' and I'm going to stick with it.

Anyways, because I was reading all of these French postmodernists who like to make up words, I decided to slap an 'eco' together with a 'politology' and use the word to broadly describe environmental politics. It wasn't until months later when I decided to start a blog as a means to flesh out ideas for my dissertation research, that I instantly knew that ecopolitology had to be the name of it.

Thanks for visiting and please come back again.


Timothy B. Hurst
Fort Collins, CO

info [at] ecopolitology [dot] org