The Annals Of The Association Of American Geographers Essay

1645 Words Nov 10th, 2016 7 Pages

In this introspective comment article for the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Diana Liverman assesses geography’s potential role in influencing the recent neoliberal turn in environmental governance and commodification of nature. Professor Liverman is a highly cited geographer who focuses on development and the human aspects of environmental change. This article has been cited over 250 times, sparking debate about the discipline and demonstrating the relevance of the article and Liverman in the literature. The article speaks to fellow academic geographers and presents them with potential challenges, opportunities and examples of how the discipline can react to this neoliberal turn. This critical review will analyse the articles two main themes, giving brief summaries for each first before concluding.

The Commodification of Nature: Environmental Services and Markets


Liverman acknowledges that neoliberal approaches are increasingly being mainstreamed in environmental protection. Market prices and incentives are asserted by proponents as optimal for protecting ecosystem services such as forests and fisheries. Geographers such as Harvey (2004) have criticised this commodification of nature and commons in turn. Liverman shows how in Costa Rica payment for ecosystem services and ecotourism are becoming commonplace. She posits also that human environment relations and a regional focus in geography have diminished under neoliberalism and…

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