Environmental Imaginaries

Pavel BoreckyZainabu JalloMahroo Movahedi

Exploring the zeitgeist of resources and power, political ecology employs the concept of environmental imaginaries as the constellation of ideas that groups of humans develop about a given environment (Davis 2012). Intersecting imaginaries exist in every context and are developed by every society. Employed by hegemonic actors, taking a form of “environmental orientalism”, they however frequently fuel imperial and colonial projects. Our project takes a cue from Sherry Ortner’s “good anthropology” (2016) and collaboratively investigates social initiatives into, what we tentatively call, restorative imaginaries. Our critical question is two-fold:

  • What makes, or could make, restorative imaginaries socio-culturally impactful in the given context?
  • How shall we creatively and constructively work with such imaginaries to provoke new approaches to the ecological crisis?”

“What people do about their ecology depends on what they think about themselves in relation to things around them. Human ecology is deeply conditioned by beliefs about our nature and destiny”

J Lynn White: The Historical Root of our Ecological Crisis

“As contamination changes world-making projects, mutual worlds—and new directions—may emerge.”

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing: The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins


Pavel Borecky (project leader)
Zainabu Jallo (project leader & contact)
Mahroo Movahedi (project leader)


Environmental Imaginiaries hosts a panel at Vienna Anthropology Days 2020 (September 28 – October 1, 2020)
Visit the event page to read more about the panel

Individual Projects

Visualizing Environmental Crisis
Pavel Borecký
Audio-Visual Exploration of Social Polarization through Water as more-than-human Agent in Jordan


Zainabu Jallo

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