International Political Ecology

The research group "International Political Ecology" was founded in 2011 to bundle and advance the work done at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Vienna on the (international) political dimensions of the ecological crisis. Theoretically, it locates itself in political and social ecology, focusing on the role of the state and on the intergovernmental system, which can also be referred to as the "internationalization of the state." Empirical studies are conducted on biodiversity, climate change, agriculture and agrarian fuels, as and energy policies in the context of the Global North as well as the Global South. In addition to the analysis of international structures and processes, regional foci of the studies are Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

The ecological crisis, in its various dimensions and linkages with other social crises, is one of the greatest challenges facing societies and humanity. Social and Political Ecology contributes to a better understanding of the socio-economic, cultural, and political-institutional causes of the ecological crisis, the socially and spatially unequal distribution of its consequences, and the conflicts over its political management.

The aim of the research group is to use empirical, methodological and theoretical work to advance scientific knowledge in these fields by placing the role of the state and the intergovernmental system, as well as other social actors, in the context of socio-economic dynamics, biophysical processes, forms of production and life, and subjectivities. The perspective is multi-scalar. The research group examines the production and reproduction of different spatial scales - from the local to the global - by examining conflicts over societal nature relations. In this way, it connects everyday practices to the global political economy and analyzes how international resource conflicts are embedded in dominant forms of production and consumption.


Ulrich Brand offers a dissertation seminar on "Global Political Ecology" approximately every two years in the PhD program at the Faculty of Social Sciences. From 2010 to 2016, summer schools on "Global Political Ecology" were held every two years in changing cooperation with the Universities of Kassel and Jena, FU Berlin and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig.

Environmental Colloquium
The Environmental Colloquium is a discussion area for researchers, students and practitioners working in the field of environmental and resource policies. In the monthly colloquium, theoretical and empirical texts are discussed and research projects, master theses and dissertations are presented.