Contested Grounds

Security and Conflict in the New Environmental Politics

Edited by Daniel H. Deudney & Richard A. Matthew

Subjects: International Relations
Series: SUNY series in International Environmental Policy and Theory
Paperback : 9780791441169, 312 pages, April 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441152, 312 pages, April 1999

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Table of contents



1. Introduction: Mapping Contested Grounds

Richard A. Matthew

Part I: Historical and Conceptual Background

2. Bringing Nature Back In: Geopolitical Theory from the Greeks to the Global Era

Daniel H. Deudney

Part II: The Contemporary Debate

3. Thresholds of Turmoil: Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict

Thomas F. Homer-Dixon

4. A Realist's Conceptual Definition of Environmental Security

Michel Frédérick

5. The Case for DOD Involvement in Environmental Security

Kent Hughes Butts

6. The Case for Comprehensive Security

Eric K. Stern

7. Threats from the South? Geopolitics, Equity, and Environmental Security

Simon Dalby

8. Environmental Security: A Critique

Daniel H. Deudney

Part III: Case Studies

9. Transboundary Resource Disputes and Their Resolution

Miriam R. Lowi

10. Imminent Political Conflicts Arising from China's Population Crisis

Jack A. Goldstone

11. Out of Focus: U. S. Military Satellites and Environmental Rescue

Ronald J. Deibert


12. Conclusion: Settling Contested Grounds

Richard A. Matthew

About the Contributors


Presents diverse views on the relationship between environmental politics and international security.


Since the end of the Cold War, the relationship between international security and the environment has been subject to intensive policy concern, scholarly debate and research. Contested Grounds brings together many of the best known researchers on this emerging topic as they present sharply conflicting views on the relationship between the environment and security and conflict.

The book puts the contemporary debate in historical and theoretical perspective by demonstrating the important, but overlooked, role that environmental factors have placed in historical developments and in earlier geopolitical theories. The contributors present diverse and often conflicting answers to three questions: What are the relationships between environmental change, degradation and protection and traditional natural security concepts and organizations? How useful are security concepts and organizations in mobilizing political responses to environmental problems? What role do environmental factors play in stimulating international conflict and cooperation?

In-depth case studies on transboundary resource issues are explored as well as the implications of Chinese environmental decay for political conflict, and the use of military satellites for environmental monitoring.

[Contributors include Ken Butts, Simon Dalby, Daniel Deudney, Ronald J. Deibert, Michel Frederick, Jack Goldstone, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Miriam Lowi, Richard Matthew, and Eric Stern. ]

Daniel H. Deudney is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and coauthor of Renewable Energy and author of Bounding Power: Geopolitical Change, State-systems and Republican Restraint. He is also the winner of the American Political Science Association's 1995 Mary Parker Follett Prize for the best article in History and Politics. Richard A. Matthew is Assistant Professor in the School of Social Ecology and the Department of Political Science, and Director of the Global Environmental Change and Human Security Research Program at the University of California at Irvine.