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Dr Naomi Millner

Political ecologies of conservation

I am a political-economic geographer who works primarily in the following areas:

  • Post-colonial, de-colonial and political ecology approaches to environmental politics, with a focus on the politics of knowledge
  • The cultural politics of race, nature and social exclusion
  • Food justice, agrarian social movements and food sovereignty, especially in the context of Central America
  • Concepts of 'commons' and 'commoning'
  • Migration, border politics and transnational forms of belonging
  • Theories of politics and aesthetics, especially Walter Benjamin, Jacques Rancière and decolonial theories
  • Community education, radical education and pedagogies for social change, including feminist approaches 
  • Environmental monitoring and digital monitoring practices. 


Knowledge politics and conflict: My work explores the knowledge politics surrounding the making and management of ‘environments’ in the context of changing global agendas for sustainability, and changing terrain of social conflict. Major themes in my work include citizenship rights, legal aspects of tenure and displacement, environmental expertise, and the construction of sustainable futures – especially in relation to forestry and food.

Transforming citizenship: I follow how new globalising agendas for sustainability transform and affect the contexts they are introduced within, against historical backdrops of coloniality, long-term conflict, disputes over land rights and citizenship, and unevenness in terms of access to resources. As increasing energy and resources are directed into meeting goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals, my work explores the implications on communities, governance, migration and environmental cultures -- for example of new monitoring targets and technologies.

Communities and practices: I am interested in the relationships of specific practices of 'bottom up' environmental conservation with neoliberal (market) economic forms of regulation, and the possibilities for political and cultural autonomy these allow or foreclose. Methodologically I mobilise ethnographic and participatory approaches in combination with oral histories and archival work to explore and elicit dimensions of situated cultural struggle. Insodoing I aim to contribute toward the co-creation of social histories and resistance practices that challenge colonial and exclusionary power geometries.

Research keywords

  • Political ecology
  • green securitisation
  • monitoring technologies
  • Latin America
  • Food justice
  • transnational agrarian movements
  • food sovereignty
  • post-colonial and decolonial politics of knowledge
  • aesthetic politics
  • citizenship
  • authority & the production of knowledge
  • critical and radical pedagogies.