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profile image of Salvatore Paolo De Rosa. Photo.

Salvatore Paolo de Rosa

Postdoctoral Fellow

profile image of Salvatore Paolo De Rosa. Photo.

Breaking Consensus, Transforming Metabolisms : Notes on direct-action against fossil fuels through Urban Political Ecology


  • Salvatore Paolo De Rosa

Summary, in English

This article discusses the politics of “direct- action” against fossil fuels put forward by climate justice movements, focusing in particular on the tactic of the blockade. Drawing on the conceptual toolkit of Urban Political Ecology, the argument moves from a critique of the consensual regime of climate change governance to highlight conflict and dissent as central forces for the transformation of the socio-ecological metabolisms structuring the capitalist urbanization of nature—of which fossil fuels constitute the lifeblood. This approach shifts the debate around climate change politics from an issue of technological transition to one of metabolic transformation. On this basis, the article proposes a characterization of direct-action against fossil fuels as expressions of metabolic activism: instances of grassroots eco-political engagement that aim to break consensus by disrupting capitalist-driven metabolic relations while also experimenting with alternative values, knowledges, spaces, and socio-material relations. To ground these reflections, the article offers an account of the Swedish climate justice coalition Fossilgasfällan and of its successful three-year campaign, culminated in a blockade, to halt the expansion of the gas terminal of Gothenburg port.


  • LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

Publishing year





Social Text





Document type

Journal article


Duke University Press


  • Human Geography




  • ISSN: 0164-2472