To Modernize or to Ecologize, that is the Question

To Modernize or to Ecologize, that is the Question application/pdf icon

In N. Castree and B. Willems-Braun (editors) Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millenium (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 221-242, 1998 (translation and new version of (59) [2007 : Republication of the English translation « To Modernize or to Ecologize ? That is the Question » in Kristin Asdal, Brita Brenna and Ingunn Moser (editors) Technoscience, The Politics of Intervention, Unipub Oslo, pp.249-272.]


This paper explores the destiny of political ecology. It is very much influenced by the French political situation and the continuing marginality of the various Green parties. It relies on three different strands. First a very interesting model to understand political disputes devised by two French sociologists, Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot in a book that is not yet available in English (Boltanski & Thévenot 1991). Second, a case study by the author on the recent creation by law of what could be called “local parliaments of water” (Latour & Le Bourhis 1995). Third, a long term project in philosophy to develop an alternative to the notion of modernity (Latour 1993) and to explore the political roots of the notion of nature. The point of the paper can be stated very simply: political ecology cannot be inserted into the various niches of modernity.


2001: Norvégien / Norwegian
«A modernisere eller a okologisere - det er spormalet »
in Kristin Asdal, Brita Brenna Og, Ingunn Moser (editors)
Teknovitenskapelige kulturer, Spartacus, Oslo pp. 339-361

2001: Portugais / Portuguese
« An ecologica politica sem a natura »
in Projetos historia, n°23, PUC-SP, novembre 2001, pp. 31-44

2003: Finlandais / Finnish
« Moderni vai ekologinen? Uutta oikeutusta etsimässä»
in Gyro Haila Ville and Ladhe Luonnon (eds)
Trei Vastapaino pp. 70-103

2010: Allemand / German
« Modernisierung oder Ökologisierung ? Das ist hier die Frage »
Petra Gines mit Georg Hiller und Anh-Linh Ngo)
in ARCH+ 196-197, pp. 12-22, January 2010

2019 Italian translation
in Nicola Manghi « Modernizzare o ecologizzare »
Essere du Questa Terra Guerra et Pace al tempo dei conflitti ecologici,
Rosenberg& Sellier, 2019, pp. 39-65.