Special Issue "Rethinking Environmental Citizenship for Grassroots Politics"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Mine Islar

Lund University
Website | E-Mail
Guest Editor
Dr. Yang Mundo

University of Siegen, Department of Social Sciences, Am Herrengarten 3, D-57072 Siegen, Germany
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In response to climate change, social inequality and environmental degradation, citizens in various countries developed grassroot forms of civic engagement. It appears that civic engagement has turned to the local and the material in order to establish alternative socio-material orders. Community supported agriculture, zero-waste-networks, community gardens, repair cafés, eco-villages, energy cooperatives, upcycling projects, slow food, and green mobility are just a few examples of this development. These phenomena have been studied under conceptual frameworks such as grassroots innovations, real utopias, degrowth, prefigurative politics of sustainable lifestyle, conviviality, and or solidarity economy. They have promoted a turn towards material objects, infrastructures, bodily practices, emotions, and tangible space within research of social-ecological transformation. Most of the studies in this field address questions of how to scale-up related practices or interpret this development as part of movement mobilization, which tries to decrease the dominance of growth economy in everyday life.

In this regard, academia offers a broad range of approaches including sociological accounts of critical subjectivity or social change, and approaches from critical geography, cultural studies, environmental politics and ecological economics. The idea behind this conjunction of the material turn and the political is twofold. On the one hand, bringing the political into the research of the material dimensions of engagement for social-ecological change emphasizes its conflictive and public character. This could shed light on the reappropriation of public space, the provision of material proof regarding contested issues, and the creative politicization of everyday life. On the other hand, bringing the material turn into the research on the political, engaged citizenship and participation could allow us to elucidate these struggles which used to be dismissed as apolitical due to their high reliance on material, emotional, and spatial practices.

Contributions will adopt one of the two aspects and translate them to the related turns towards the material and to practices of the political. The concept of the political refers to a specific way of dealing with irreconcilable conflicts about common affairs in a non-violent, agonistic and public manner. It goes beyond standard distinctions of politics, policy, and polity, but stresses the decisive role of direct participation and public conflict about the rules of coexistence. Environmental citizenship stands for understandings and practices of how individuals or groups can engage as active members of their communities in order to secure planetary co-existence.

Against this backdrop, contributions may address the following questions:

  • What are the major drivers (i.e environmental, economic or social justice) for mobilization of grassroots initiatives?
  • Which forms of politicization result from grassroots initiatives?
  • To what extent should they be recognized as forms of politically engaged citizenship and as drivers for structural change?
  • What kind of public and political contestation emerges when civic engagement has turned to the local, the material and the cooperative solutions for sustainability?
  • How do grassroots initiatives sustain their environmental practices in the age of populism?

Dr. Mine Islar
Dr. Yang Mundo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 350 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Grassroots innovations
  • real utopias
  • environmentalism
  • citizenship
  • sustainable lifestyle
  • prefigurative politics
  • socio-ecological change
  • degrowth

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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