Summer School “Politics Ontologies Ecologies”


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

NOTICE: The program will be activated in distance learning mode.

Political ecology is a long-established interdisciplinary field 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. Political ecology also questions the (purportedly) apolitical outlooks on the socio-ecological crisis, dawned in the early 1970s and now full-blown, assuming that the problem can be tackled in politically neutral terms leaving unaddressed the way science and technology intermingle with power and interests.

The emergence of the notion of Anthropocene, the acknowledgment of fast-accelerating climate change, the worldwide spread of ‘environmental justice’ mobilizations and the recently arisen theme of the ‘Green New Deal’ 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 in this vein 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 regard western ontology as unproblematic and uncontentious, to focus on the intersection and reciprocal affection of three themes or problem-fields: politics, ontologies, ecologies.

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 ECTS credits that will be allocated to the successful participants are 3. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Confirmed speakers:

  • Donatella della Porta, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
  • Dennis Eversberg, University of Jena
  • Francesca Forno, University of Trento
  • Luigi Pellizzoni, University of Pisa
  • Miriam Tola, University of Lausanne
  • Giacomo D'Alisa, CES, Coimbra University

(confirmation of other speakers in progress)


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 social science fields relevant to an advanced political ecology approach to the socio-environmental crisis.

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, catastrophism and chronopolitics
  • 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
  • “More-than-human” ecologies and ecologies of care

Who can apply

  • BSc, MSc or Ph.D. in social and political sciences and humanities.
  • Curricula in natural sciences and science and technology studies may be eligible as well.

The organizers reserve the right to cancel the summer school if fewer than 20 students are enrolled. A maximum number of 30 students will be admitted to the school.



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 to Professor Luigi Pellizzoni, Director of the School, at




0 euro


29 June - 3 July 2020


5 June 2020

Last updated May 2020

About the School

The University of Pisa is a public institution boasting twenty departments, with high level research centres in the sectors of agriculture, astrophysics, computer science, engineering, medicine and ve ... Read More

The University of Pisa is a public institution boasting twenty departments, with high level research centres in the sectors of agriculture, astrophysics, computer science, engineering, medicine and veterinary medicine. Read less
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