Political ecology is a long-established interdisciplinary field, including various social sciences and humanities, aimed at investigating the interface of societies and the biophysical world as affected by, and in its turn affecting, the political order and related dynamics of conflict and cooperation, domination and emancipation. The overall stance is critical of capitalist economy, seen at the core of a socio-ecological (rather than just ecological) crisis that got growing evidence since the 1970s.

Political ecology also questions the (purportedly) apolitical outlooks that lead the debate and which assume that the problem can be addressed in politically neutral terms leaving unaccounted for the way science and technology intermingle with power and interests.

The emergence of the notion of Anthropocene, the acknowledgment of fast accelerating climate change and the worldwide spread of “environmental justice” mobilizations have in different ways stressed that the crisis cannot be effectively tackled, whether in terms of mitigation or adaptation, without addressing its social causes. This means looking at the interweaving of the various aspects (economic, scientific, regulatory, institutional, cultural, geopolitical etc.) that impinge on how the biophysical world (including the human body) is conceived, technologies are developed, value is extracted and the related benefits and costs, risks and uncertainties, are distributed across peoples, places, genders and generations.

Of particular relevance is to investigate ongoing transformations in the global order and governmental approaches, emergent technological landscapes and narratives of crisis and remedy, new social mobilizations and conflicting ontologies of the human and the nonhuman. This entails making a step forward, compared with traditional political ecology outlooks, which see as unproblematic and uncontentious the western ontology.

The summer school will provide an updated analysis of this problematic. Activities will be articulated in morning and afternoon sessions, combining lectures and group work with both a theoretical and an empirical perspective, focusing on analytical frameworks, research methods and experiences. Attendance will be evaluated in terms of active participation and personal contribution to collective work.

The program will be activated entirely online, via Microsoft Teams.


The Summer School will offer postgraduate and PhD students, and early career researchers the opportunity to interact with international scholars with a background in a variety of fields.
Basic purpose is to provide an advanced approach to the socio-environmental crisis, broadening the traditional political ecology outlook to encompass emergent ontological issues and coniflcts.
Topics addressed include:

  • Critical perspectives on the crisis (post-Marxist, de/post-colonial, feminist, etc.)
  • Environmental justice, ontological struggles and everyday environmentalism in the global North and South
  • Innovation and the transformation of capitalism: emergent technologies and new arrangements of production and reproduction
  • Climate change, pandemics, catastrophism, governance of emergencies and anticipations
  • Just transition, work and sustainable welfare
  • Growth, limits and de/post-growth
  • The Anthropocene as risk and opportunity for socio-ecological change
  • Value, valuation and valorisation
  • Alternative economies and conceptions of economy
  • Plural ontologies, “more-than-human” ecologies and ecologies of care

Confirmed speakers

Marco Armiero (KTH Stockholm)
Ulrich Brand (University of Vienna)
Laura Centemeri (CNRS/EHESS)
Federico Demaria (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
Rob Nixon (Princeton University)
Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia University)
Ariel Salleh (Sydney University)
Salvo Torre (University of Catania)

Who can apply

Applicants should hold a BSc, MSc or PhD in social and political sciences and humanities.
Curricula in natural sciences and science and technology studies may be eligible as well.



Program Intensity



Admission Requirements

A statement of purposes from the applicant will be integral to the evaluation for admission.
Evidence of B2 (or higher) level of English is highly recommended.

Required Documents

  • Identity Document (*PASSPORT in case you are a foreign student*)
  • Enrolment Form
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of Purposes
  • Certification of B2 (or higher) level of English (not compulsory, but highly recommended)

All the documents must be in pdf format, in order to upload them on the portal when required (See the “How to apply” page)

The statement of purposes for applications must be sent also to Professor Luigi Pellizzoni, Director of the School, at




250 euro

Bank transfer to the following account:

Università di Pisa

Dipartimento di Scienze politiche

Banca di Pisa e Fornacette – Credito Cooperativo S.c.p.A.

IBAN: IT73N0856270910000011156627


Please write to the coordinator for further details.


5 – 9 July 2021


16 April 2021


Prof. Luigi Pellizzoni


Summer/Winter School Office