Workshop 9. Theories and Methods of Political-Industrial Ecology: A New Perspective for Crafting


  • Dr. Jennifer Baka, Department of Geography, Penn State University;
  • Joshua Cousins, EEES, Dartmouth College;
  • Dr. Joshua Newell, SNRE, University of Michigan


UIC Forum, Room G



This full day workshop will examine the foundational theories and methods of the emerging field of political-industrial ecology. Political-industrial ecology is an integrative approach that brings the fields of political (PE) and industrial ecology (IE) into conversation in order to analyze how political and biophysical processes are interconnected and mutually shape nature-society relations. More specifically, political-industrial ecology analyzes how the concept of metabolism, central to, yet differentially applied within PE and IE, can be used as a foundational concept for developing spatially explicit, historically informed analyses of the energy and material flows shaping and shaped by society. By the end of the workshop, attendees will be able to:


  • • Understand the theoretical motivations of political-industrial ecologyGain competency with political-industrial ecology research methods

  • • Evaluate the benefits and challenges of mixed method, quantitative/qualitative approaches for studying communities

  • • Critically reflect on the merits and challenges of political-industrial ecology

  • • Develop new ways of conceptualizing, analyzing and developing sustainable and resilient communities  



    Foundational concepts of political-industrial ecology: This will include mini lectures on metabolism in PE and IE as well as discussions of recent literature in the field of political-industrial ecology  


    Debate: In order to expand the boundaries of political-industrial ecology, we will facilitate a debate between key scholars of urban metabolism in IE and PE.  We aim to invite Dr. Trevor Birkenholtz, University of Illinois ; Professor Chris Kennedy, University of Victoria; Heinz Schandl, CSIRO; Professor Stephanie Pincetl, UCLA. 


    Methods training: This section will include mini lectures on integrating IE and PE methods. Specific topics include spatially explicit LCA, Material and Energy Flow Analysis, historic analysis, interviews.


Number of Participants: 20