Undoing environmental justice: Re-imagining equality in the Rosia Montana anti-mining movement

I. Velicu, M. Kaika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we outline the limitations of Environmental Justice theory when it comes to explaining and theorizing the politics of contemporary environmental movements. Justice, we argue, needs to be understood not as a formalised and preconceived 'thing' to be delivered or applied but as an open egalitarian ideal that movements across the world continuously redefine in embodied and performed ways which are historically and geographically distinct. Drawing upon the fifteen year long anti-mining struggles of Rosia Montana, Romania, we explore the tension between seeking 'traditional' forms of justice (i.e. dialogic consensual politics) and putting forward more radical demands for socio-ecological change, in which representation and recognition are seen as insufficient practices for distributing justice . As visibility (rather than recognition) and egalitarian politics (rather than distribution) become the quilting points of struggles of many contemporary environmental movements, it becomes clear that equality can only be enacted (or staged) through praxis that disrupts the distribution of the sensible experience and exposes the arbitrariness and incompleteness of power. We argue that in order to analyse and theorize the praxis of contemporary environmental movements, it is imperative for geographical literature to engage with post-foundational theory, and 'un-do' pre-conceived ideas and theorizations of (environmental) justice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • environmental Justice, political ecology, mining, post foundational theory


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