Harvard University, Political Economy and Government, 1988, Ph.D.
Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, 1983, M.P.A.
Pomona College, Bachelor of Arts cum laude, 1975, Biology
A consensus is emerging that the era of cheap energy is coming to an end. The implications of such a transition, including economic, technological and psychological aspects, are difficult to assess but essential to investigate. Because the cheapness of 20th century energy was not just economic but energetic (it took little energy to get energy) and environmental (costs could be externalized), one likely process of social change is “localization.” Another is “leave it in the ground,” that is, deliberately not using otherwise useful fossil fuels. Technological transition, similarly, will entail a respect for biophysical limits and the possibility of employing the “no development” alternative—i.e., deciding not to use a technology either because it increases complexity or because it generates unknown risks. This work will explore these transitions and related processes. It will be future oriented, including the distant future (decades), while grounded in historical (human and biophysical) trends. It will pay special attention to local sources and local impacts while maintaining a global perspective on energy and environmental change.
Princen, Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order, MIT Press, 2010.
Princen, The Logic of Sufficiency, MIT Press, 2005.
Princen, Maniates & Conca, eds., Confronting Consumption, MIT Press, 2002.
Princen and Finger, Environmental NGOs in World Politics: Linking the Local and the Global, Routledge, 1994.
Princen, Intermediaries in International Conflict, Princeton University Press, 1992/1995.
De Young and Princen, Localization: Adaptations for the Coming Downshift, MIT Press, 2012.
Princen, “Counter-Commoditization: Decision Making, Language, Localization,” Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society XX(X) (2012) 1-10
Princen, “A Sustainability Ethic,” Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, Edward Elgar, (2012) 466-479.
Princen, “Consumer Sovereignty, Heroic Sacrifice: Two Insidious Concepts in an Endlessly Expansionist Economy,” (pp. 45-164) in The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice, eds., Michael Maniates and John Myers (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2010).
Princen, "Speaking of Sustainability: The Potential of Metaphor," Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, 6:2 (Fall 2010) 1-6.
Princen, "Long-Term Decision-Making: Biological and Psychological Evidence," Global Environmental Politics, 9:3 (2009) 29-32.