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The eco-frontier paradigm: rethinking the links between space, nature and politics

Abstract : There is a gap in the geographical/geopolitical literature about the process that motivates humans to conquer a boundless, timeless and invaluable wilderness in the name of plural ecologies to serve their own political interests in control and territory building by means of ‘green gerrymandering'. The ecological frontier (or eco-frontier), a neologism produced by a contemporary greened civil society, can be considered a new paradigm that embraces the mental representations and spatial constructions of eco-conquest without restricting its temporal dimension to the present time. Indeed, the eco-frontier is a genealogical paradigm where new dynamics always revisit old processes. The creation and use of the eco-frontier can illuminate the history of the global territorialisation of nature in the last three centuries. From a spatial point of view, two main understandings of the eco-frontier exist. The first characterises virtual and mental imageries of natural spaces of eco-conquest that are strongly associated with Westernised representations of nature. The second considers eco-frontiers as geographical processes to understand the green dynamics of territorial appropriation and re-conquest. As a genealogical paradigm, the eco-frontier has a specific temporal dynamic that integrates the different historical contexts and political ideologies of nature. Three generations of eco-frontiers (Empire, Geopolitical and Global generations) began at different times and co-exist today, with superposition and percolation. This empirical study shows how contemporary environmentalists and green stakeholders produce specific discourses and representations on global eco-frontiers. The paper focuses on the current territorial domination carried out by contemporary eco-conquerors creating possible new geopolitics.
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Contributor : Sylvain Guyot <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 24, 2010 - 8:04:21 AM
Last modification on : Monday, February 22, 2021 - 2:50:02 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00520673, version 1



Sylvain Guyot. The eco-frontier paradigm: rethinking the links between space, nature and politics. Geopolitics, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2011, 16 (3), pp.675-706. ⟨hal-00520673⟩



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