The complexity and diversity of shifting emotional geographies in environmental justice research

Mr Mark-Stanton Bailey1, Dr Natalie Osborne1, Professor Jason Byrne2

1Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, 2University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


Political ecology studies are replete with examples of governance and economic stressors that impact social and environmental conditions. The socio-spatial distribution of environmental inequalities is a common theme. While political ecology and environmental justice literatures both attend to such matters, and increasingly overlap, the fields maintain particular roots and their foci are not necessarily shared. Extractive resource mining and its associated local social and environmental impacts is an example. Key concerns include the role of the State and affected actors, legislative frameworks, power relations, and the equity implications of differential impacts. This paper considers insights from political ecology and environmental justice, examining extractive industries in two rural communities. Analysis reveals a deeper complexity that political ecology and environmental justice could not explain – the shifting nature of emotions and geographies that occur between citizens of affected resource communities, and their links to each other, their community, and treasured places. The paper contributes to the nascent field of emotional geographies of environmental injustice, addressing environmental activism, natural resource management, place, and impacts to community. Insights are combined to generate a theoretical framework that draws upon the three fields, enabling a better understanding of the emotional impacts of extractive resource operations.


Mark Bailey (BSc Env. Hons.) is a PhD candidate at Griffith University and his research explores the intersection of Environmental Justice and Emotional Geographies theorisation. Mark also teaches into the Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning Undergraduate at Griffith.


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