Between the marvellous and the mundane: everyday life in the socialist city and the politics of the environment

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In a recent essay on modernisation and ecology, Latour claimed that the environmental movement had lost important ground within political debate. He argued that this reversal in political fortunes had in part emerged out of an internal tension within the environmental movement itself -- a tension between overinflation and banalisation. In this paper I analyse the nature of the purporte d processes of overinflation and banalisation within contemporary ecological politics, and explore ways in which it is possible to image a reinvention of environmental politics, forged between the socioecological marvellous and the mundane. Focusing on struggles over the treatment of nature and the urban environment in the socialist city of Katowice in Poland, I reveal a brand of environmental politics emerging out of communist Eastern Europe which appears to have important implications for a reinvented environmentalism. Considering the particular utilisation of the everyday environment which was forced on environmental groups in Katowice by political circumstances, I claim that the quotidian could provide a new ground upon which to perceive and connect social and ecological politics at a variety of different spatial scales and in a powerful array of different socionatural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-294
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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