In this article, we investigate the emergence of modern environmentalism in the Kurdistan Region (Iraq), a de facto state in which ecological well-being is under serious strain. Social mobilizations in the Middle East have been depicted as confrontational and opposing the authorities. Studies of environmental activism in the region have also highlighted conflictual relations between social actors and the holders of power. In this article, we stress the need to expand the research scope to closely examine other forms of actions and strategies in relation to ecological threats and climate change. Drawing upon field research and interviews in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, we analyze the (geo)politics, economic systems and social change which together affect nature, natural resources, landscapes and climate, as well as the patterns of Kurdish contestation in these areas. We term the typical practices of the new phenomenon of Kurdish environmental activism as 'dutiful' form of dissent, which can be explained by contextualizing activism. It is grounded in political ecology and activists' efforts are directed at state building and policymaking in a post-conflict state.
Keywords: Environmentalism, dutiful dissent, activism, Iraq, the Kurdistan region
How to Cite:
Wiktor-Mach, D. & Skupiński, M. & Salih, K., (2023) “‘We want to have a positive impact’: Fragile ecologies and the Iraqi Kurds’ dutiful environmentalism”, Journal of Political Ecology 30(1), 198–218. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.5377
- Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014–2021 (grant 2019/34/H/HS2/00541)