Energy, water and food: towards a critical nexus approach

Hayley Leck, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Kevin Burchell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Over the last decade, research and policy attention has focused to a growing extent on natural resource scarcity and the need for greater recognition of the interdependencies between these resources. This challenge has been increasingly framed as the energy-water-food (EWF) nexus, or resource trilemma. The chapter critically reviews the recent emergence of the EWF nexus and initiatives framed around this discourse, including a critical review of its institutional origins, emerging perspectives and the range of actors involved. It is argued that the social sciences have a central role to play in the nexus debate. Geography in particular stands to make a significant contribution to the nexus terrain given its emphasis on the interrelationships between environmental, sociopolitical and economic domains, and their interactions over space and time. Drawing on various examples, it is argued that a paradox lies at the heart of the nexus discourse: it has the potential to either be politicizing or depoliticizing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on the Geographies of Energy
EditorsBarry D. Solomon, Kirby E. Calvert
PublisherEdward Elgar
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781785365614
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2017


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