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Paul K. Gellert

University of Tennessee

Based in

United States
North America

Paul Gellert’s research examines the role of natural resources in development within a world-systems perspective and dependency research in the traditions of Baran, Sweezy, Wallerstein, and Arrighi. Much of his research focuses on Indonesia, where he has conducted research for over two decades and is fluent in the language. He is engaged with debates on the meaning of ‘development’, questions of who benefits, and especially, processes of financialization, accumulation by dispossession, ecologically unequal exchange, and socionatural (dialectical society-nature) relations. Gellert takes a comparative-historical perspective using a combination of fieldwork and interview methods that he calls ‘structural field work’ (see article with Jon Shefner), as well as historical and secondary data analysis.

Country(ies) of Specialty


Focus areas of expertise

Climate policy and politics History Climate Justice Fossil fuels

How to Connect



Ciccantell, Paul S., and Paul K. Gellert. 2021. “Migration, Resource Frontiers, and Extractive Peripheries: Toward a Typology.” Pp. 29-44 in Migration, Racism and Labor Exploitation in the World-System, edited by Denis O’Hearn and Paul S. Ciccantell. New York: Routledge.

Gellert, Paul K. 2020. “The Political Economy of Environmental Degradation and Climate Disaster in Southeast Asia.” Pp. 367-88 in The Political Economy of Southeast Asia; Politics and Uneven Development Under Hypergloblisation, edited by Toby Carroll, Shahar Hameiri, and Lee Jones. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gellert, Paul K., and Paul S. Ciccantell. 2020. “Coal’s Persistence in the Capitalist World-Economy: Against Teleology in Energy “Transition” Narratives.” Sociology of Development 6(2):194-221.

Gellert, Paul K. 2019. “Neoliberalism and altered state developmentalism in the twenty-first century extractive regime of Indonesia.Globalizations 16(6):894-918.

Gellert, Paul K. 2019. “R. Scott Frey and the Unfinished Agenda of Unifying Economy and Environment in the World-System from Extraction to Waste (Section In Memorium: The Contributions of R. Scott Frey).Journal of World-Systems Research 25(1):185-93.

Frey, R. Scott, Paul K. Gellert, and Harry F. Dahms (Eds.). 2019. Ecologically Unequal Exchange: Environmental Injustice in Comparative and Historical Perspective. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Frey, R. Scott, Paul K. Gellert, and Harry F. Dahms. 2019. “Introduction: Ecologically Unequal Exchange in Comparative Perspective” Pp. 1-10 in Ecologically Unequal Exchange: Environmental Injustice in Comparative and Historical Perspective, edited by R. Scott Frey, Paul K. Gellert, and Harry F. Dahms. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gellert, Paul K. 2019. “Bunker’s Ecologically Unequal Exchange, Foster’s Metabolic Rift, and Moore’s World-Ecology: Distinctions With or Without a Difference?” Pp. 107-40 in Ecologically Unequal Exchange: Environmental Injustice in Comparative and Historical Perspective, edited by R. Scott Frey, Paul K. Gellert, and Harry F. Dahms. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ciccantell, Paul S., and Paul K. Gellert. 2018. “The Longue Durée and Raw Materialism of Coal: Against the So-called ‘Death of Coal’.” Chapter 7 in The World-System as Unit of Analysis: Past Contributions and Future Advances, edited by Roberto P. Korzeniewicz. New York: Routledge.

Ciccantell, Paul S., and Paul K Gellert. 2018. “Raw Materialism and Socioeconomic Change in the Coal Industry.” Pp. 113-136 in Oxford Handbook of Energy and Society, edited by J. Davidson Debra and Gross Matthias: Oxford University Press

Gellert, Paul K., and Andiko. 2015. “The Quest for Legal Certainty and the Reorganization of Power: Struggles over Forest Law, Permits, and Rights in Indonesia.The Journal of Asian Studies 74(03):639-66.

Frey, R. Scott, Paul K. Gellert, and Harry F. Dahms. (Eds). 2017. Special Issue: Unequal Ecological Exchange. 23(2): 226-398.

Gellert, Paul K., R. Scott Frey, and Harry F. Dahms. 2017. “Introduction to Ecologically Unequal Exchange in Comparative Perspective.” Journal of World-Systems Research 23(2):226-35.

Kaup, Brent Z., and Paul K. Gellert. 2017. “Cycles of resource nationalism: Hegemonic struggle and the incorporation of Bolivia and Indonesia.International Journal of Comparative Sociology 58(4):275-303.

Gellert, Paul K. 2015. “Palm Oil Expansion in Indonesia: Land Grabbing as Accumulation by Dispossession.” Pp. 65-99 in Current Perspectives in Social Theory, edited by Jon  Shefner. Bingley, UK: Emerald Press.

Gellert, Paul K. 2014. “Optimism and Education: The New Ideology of Development in Indonesia.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 45(3):371-93.

Gellert, Paul K. 2010. “Extractive Regimes: Toward a Better Understanding of Indonesian Development.Rural Sociology 75(1):28-57.

Gellert, Paul K. 2010. “Rival Transnational Networks, Domestic Politics, and Indonesian Timber.Journal of Contemporary Asia 40(4):539-67.

Gellert, Paul K. 2012. “Extraction and the World-System.” in The Handbook of World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Research, edited by Salvatore J. Babones and Christopher Chase-Dunn. New York: Routledge.

Gunnoe, Andrew, and Paul K. Gellert. 2011. “Financialization, Shareholder Value, and the Transformation of Timberland Ownership in the USA.Critical Sociology 37(3):265-84.

Gellert, Paul K. and Jon Shefner. 2009. “People, Place and Time: How Structural Fieldwork Helps World-Systems Analysis.Journal of World-Systems Research 15(2):193-218.

Gellert, Paul K. 2009. “The Politics of Governance of Indonesia’s Forest Industries: Progress and Regress in a Neo-liberal Age.” Pp. 107-20 in Governance and the Depoliticisation of Development, edited by Wil  Hout and Richard Robison. London: Routledge Press.

Gellert, Paul K. 2008. “What’s New with the Old? Scalar Dialectics and the Reorganization of Indonesia’s Timber Industry.” Pp. 43-55 in Taking Southeast Asia to Market: Commodities, Nature and People in the Neoliberal Age, edited by Joseph Nevins and Nancy Lee Peluso. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Gellert, Paul K. 2007. “From Managed to Free(r) Markets: Transnational and Regional Governance of Asian Timber.Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 610:246-59.

Feldman, Shelley, and Paul K. Gellert. 2006. “The seductive quality of central human capabilities: sociological insights into Nussbaum and Sen’s disagreement.Economy and Society 35(3):423-52.

Gellert, Paul K. 2005. “For a Sociology of ‘Socionature’: Ontology and the Commodity-Based Approach.” Pp. 65-91 in Nature, Raw Materials, and Political Economy, edited by Paul S. Ciccantell, Gay Seidman, and David A. Smith. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier JAI.

Gellert, Paul K. 2005. “Oligarchy in the Timber Markets of Indonesia: From Apkindo to IBRA to the Future of the Forests.” Pp. 145-61 in The Politics and Economics of Indonesia’s Natural Resources, edited by Budy P. Resosudarmo. Singapore: The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, in collaboration with the Australian National University.