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Indigenous Struggles, Environmental Justice, and Community Capabilities

David Schlosberg and David Carruthers
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David Schlosberg: David Schlosberg is Professor of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. His work focuses on environmental political theory and environmental movements, including conceptions and practices of environmental, ecological, and climate justice. His recent books include Defining Environmental Justice (2007); and co-edited with Elizabeth Bomberg, Environmentalism in the United States (2008). He is currently co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society, due out in 2011.
David Carruthers: David Carruthers is Professor of Political Science at San Diego State University. His focus is on Latin America, where he researches popular movements, environmental politics and policy, and indigenous and rural politics. He recently edited the book Environmental Justice in Latin America (2008), and has published several articles exploring environmental justice in the US-Mexico border region, and the political and environmental struggles of Chile's Mapuche Indians.

Global Environmental Politics, 2010, vol. 10, issue 4, 12-35

Abstract: Environmental justice is often defined in terms of the distribution (or maldistribution) of environmental goods and bads. Activists and scholars have also focused on issues of cultural recognition and political participation. This article posits a capabilities-based conception of environmental justice. We argue that environmental challenges raised by indigenous communities demonstrate a broad, complex conception of environmental justice focused on a range of capabilities and basic functionings, at both the individual and community levels. We begin with a theoretical justification for a capabilities-based approach to understanding environmental justice. We then offer two in-depth case studies from the US and Chile, to illustrate our argument that indigenous environmental justice struggles clearly articulate themes of community capabilities and functioning, highlighting the importance of social and cultural reproduction. (c) 2010 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Date: 2010
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