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The place of desire for more-than-human political ecology

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Valerio Donfrancesco.

Discussion of emotion and affect is rife in works of political ecology that draw on more-than-human geographic theory. While concern for psychological impacts or emotional well-being in relation to or caused by environmental destruction and change is present in the literature, it is a smaller body of work in political ecology that engages more explicitly with psychoanalytic theory. In this paper I make a claim for a need for greater attention to desire within political ecology, in part drawing on a robust tradition of Lacanian psychoanalytic geographies. By way of empirical example, I will seek to explain how and why it is as someone with a background in more-than-human geographies and political ecology, I have turned more recently towards Lacanian understandings of desire, anxiety, and the drives to study illegal wildlife trades in rare and endangered cactus and succulent plants. In developing these arguments I will reflect on several interventions by others researchers who have similarly turned to Lacanian thought to advance analyses of environmental change germane to political ecology.

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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