The article takes stock of the contradictory body of literature on the environmental causes of violent inter-group conflict in developing countries. It reviews key scholarly works of the environmental conflict field and points out their main shortcomings in the realms of research design, theory, and normative foundation. I argue that the concept of environmental conflict is fundamentally flawed, as it relies on preconceived causalities, intermingles eco-centric with anthropocentric philosophies, and neglects the motivations and subjective perceptions of local actors. In addition, a number of theoretical and heuristic questions are raised in order to challenge core assumptions on the ecological causes of violent conflict. The article concludes with a plea for peace and conflict researchers to call into question the concept of environmental conflict, as it represents an inappropriate research strategy in our quest to understand human-nature interactions.
|Tidsskrift||Peace, Conflict & Development|
|Status||Udgivet - 2005|