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Environmental crises and the metabolic rift in world-historical perspective
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (Umeå Studies in Science, Technology, and Environments)
2000 (English)In: Organization & environment, ISSN 1086-0266, E-ISSN 1552-7417, Vol. 13, no 2, 123-157 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article proposes a new theoretical framework to study the dialectic of capital and nature over the longue durée of world capitalism. The author proposes that today’s global ecological crisis has its roots in the transition to capitalism during the long sixteenth century. The emergence of capitalism marked not only a decisive shift in the arenas of politics, economy, and society, but a fundamental reorganization of world ecology, characterized by a “metabolic rift,” a progressively deepening rupture in the nutrient cycling between the country and the city. Building upon the historical political economy of Marx, Foster, Arrighi, and Wallerstein, the author proposes a new research agenda organized around the concept of systemic cycles of agro-ecological transformation. This agenda aims at discerning the ways in which capitalism’s relationship to nature developed discontinuously over time as recurrent ecological crises have formed a decisive moment of world capitalist crisis, forcing successive waves of restructuring over long historical time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 13, no 2, 123-157 p.
Keyword [en]
world-systems analysis, world history, environmental history, political ecology, economic history, Immanuel Wallerstein, Giovanni Arrighi, metabolic rift, environmental crisis, sustainability, agriculture, Marxism, transition from feudalism to capitalism
National Category
Business Administration Ethnology Agricultural Science History of Technology Economic History History Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Economics Social and Economic Geography Sociology Clinical Science
Research subject
Economic History; biology, Environmental Science; Economics; History; Social and Economic Geography; Sociology; History Of Sciences and Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-39327OAI: diva2:390717
Available from: 2011-02-15 Created: 2011-01-23 Last updated: 2011-02-15Bibliographically approved

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Moore, Jason W.
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