School of Social and Political Science

CRITIQUE Seminar: Abolitionist Ecological Security

18 January 2023
15:00 - 16:30


Room 3.15, 3rd floor
Chrystal Macmillan Building





CRITIQUE Seminar (pre-read) with Michael Albert (Politics and IR, Edinburgh).


As ecological crises deepen, many scholars have challenged dominant practices of security by developing more progressive environmental or ecological security discourses. Others, on other hand, critique these moves by emphasizing the inherently repressive features of security discourse. This paper will engage this debate by proposing a more radical form of ecological security informed by the “abolitionist” tradition – which I call Abolitionist Ecological Security. From this view, the problem with existing ecological security approaches is not their efforts to rethink the term “security,” but rather 1) their failure to foreground the political economy of racial capitalism as the structure that hegemonic security practices function to secure, and 2) their neglect of how racial capitalist “security assemblages” – encompassing structures of militarism, policing, incarceration, and border controls – produce ecological insecurity through their ecological impacts and violence against workers, the poor, migrants, and racialized communities. Thus I argue, following the abolitionist tradition, that any genuine ecological security must necessarily be abolitionist in orientation, entailing the struggle for new worlds beyond racial capitalism and the creation of alternative security practices beyond militarism, policing, and imprisonment. While cognizant that the notion of Abolitionist Ecological Security will appear paradoxical to some, I suggest this is a productive paradox that can inform strategies to create more just and sustainable forms of post-capitalist security.

This event is pre-read – to get the paper please email one week before the event.

Key speakers

  • Michael Albert