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Eco-global criminology and the political economy of environmental harm

posted on 2023-05-22, 14:08 authored by Robert WhiteRobert White

Environmental harm takes place within the overarching context of a distinct global political economy. Most writers within the green criminology perspective concentrate on exposing specific types of criminal or harmful environmental actions or omissions. In doing so, they have provided detailed descriptions and analyses of phenomena such as the illegal trade of animals, illegal logging, dumping of toxic waste, air pollution and threats to biodiversity. In many cases, the corpus of work identified within this field has highlighted issues pertaining to social inequality, speciesism, ecological and environmental injustice, and crimes of the powerful. What is less common, however, are examples of study that locate these harms, crimes, injustices and corrupt practices within the context of an explicit theoretical understanding of the state or economic relations. In other words, it is rare to find a sustained political economy of environmental harm.

The aim of this chapter is to introduce an eco-global criminology approach to dealing with environmental harm, and then to explicate how this approach addresses issues of political economy when it comes to explaining environmental harm. Eco-global criminology has an emphasis on matters relating to the ecological, the transnational, and questions of justice. The substantive focus is transgressions against ecosystems, humans and animals. Underpinning eco-global criminological analysis is acknowledgement that contemporary social arrangements are constituted as relations of power and sectoral interests. This understanding is conceptually and empirically explored in the remaining sections of the chapter, first, through discussion of the structural nature and processes of global capitalism, and second, through an analysis of the exploitation of people and environments within the context of particular system imperatives.


Publication title

Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology


N South and A Brisman






School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

Milton Park, Oxon



Rights statement

Copyright 2013 Routledge

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Justice and the law not elsewhere classified

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