A New Ecological Order

Development and the Transformation of Nature in Eastern Europe

A New Ecological Order provides a new perspective on the ways nature was mobilized by the developmental policies of Eastern Europe’s nation-states in their struggle to escape the periphery. Analyzing environmental changes and the way new ideas and new actors have been involved in this complex process, it offers an exceptional contribution to the history and anthropology of the government of nature.
Marc Abélès, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

The rise of industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century forged a new ecological order in North American and Western European states, radically transforming the environment through science and technology in the name of human progress. Far less known are the dramatic environmental changes experienced by Eastern Europe, in many ways a terra incognita for environmental historians and anthropologists. A New Ecological Order explores, from a historical and ethnographic perspective, the role of state planners, bureaucrats, and experts—engineers, agricultural engineers, geographers, biologists, foresters, and architects—as agents of change in the natural world of Eastern Europe from 1870 to the early twenty-first century.
Contributors consider territories engulfed by empires, from the Habsburg to the Ottoman to tsarist Russia; territories belonging to disintegrating empires; and countries in the Balkan Peninsula, Central and Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. Together, they follow a rhetoric of “correcting nature,” a desire to exploit the natural environment and put its resources to work for the sake of developing the economies and infrastructures of modern states. They reveal an eagerness among newly established nation-states, after centuries of imperial economic and political impositions, to import scientific knowledge and new technologies from Western Europe that would aid in their economic development, and how those imports and ideas about nature ultimately shaped local projects and policies.

about the editors

Ştefan Dorondel

Ştefan Dorondel is a senior researcher at the Francisc I. Rainer Institute of Anthropology of the Romanian Academy and affiliated with the Institute for South East European Studies, Bucharest. He is the author of Disrupted Landscapes: State, Peasants, and the Politics of Land in Postsocialist Romania and coauthor of When Things Become Property: Land Reform, Authority and Value in Postsocialist Europe and Asia.

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Ştefan Dorondel
Stelu Şerban

Stelu Şerban is a sociologist at the Institute for South East European Studies, Bucharest, with an interest in postsocialist transformations in South East Europe, everyday life in rural societies, ethnicity, and political ecology. He is the author of Elites: Parties and Political Spectrum in Interwar Romania.

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Stelu Şerban