Dr. Jevgeniy Bluwstein

Senior Research Assistant

Postal Address
Lerchenweg 36
3012 Bern

Jevgeniy Bluwstein joined the Institute of Social Anthropology as Ambizione Research Fellow in 2023. He leads the Swiss National Science Foundation funded four-year project on the Juridification of climate politics through climate activism and litigation in Switzerland. Based on insights from legal anthropology and political ecology, and drawing on empirical and ethnographic research, this project examines i) how Swiss climate politics is increasingly juridified through litigation in the courts, ii) what role social movements, the judiciary, and the state more broadly play in this highly contested and dynamic process, and iii) what the effects of juridification of climate politics are on climate governance and civil liberties.   

Before joining the University of Bern, Jevgeniy was a lecturer in human geography at the University of Fribourg (2018-2022), a PhD fellow at the University of Copenhagen (2015-2018), and a research assistant (2013-2014) within the international research project PIMA (Tanzania’s Wildlife Management Area impacts on livelihoods and ecosystem, PI Katherine Homewood, UCL).

At the University of Fribourg, Jevgeniy has taught geography at BSc and MSc level, including courses in qualitiative methods, environmental geography, environmental history, and political ecology.

Jevgeniy holds a PhD from the University of Copenhagen on the (bio)political ecology of conservation in Tanzania, where he examined land and resource conflicts around protected areas and landscape conservation initiatives. His work on conservation politics appeared in the Journal of Political Ecology, World Development, Journal of Agrarian Change, and Geoforum, amongst others.

Current research interests:

  • Political ecology and human geography: conservation politics/governmentality/biopolitics/labor
  • Legal anthropology and climate politics: social movements, climate justice and the juridification of climate politics through litigation and legal struggles

Jevgeniy is Associate Editor of Geographica Helvetica





Juridification of Climate Politics through Climate Litigation

Dr. Jevgeniy Bluwstein, Lucie Benoit, MSc

Principle Investigator, SNF Ambizione Project (208679)

This project examines how climate activists mobilize emergency frames and legal conflicts to transform climate politics. Through juridification of climate politics, the relationship between emergency and law is becoming an object of legal conflicts negotiated in the courts, and an object of public debates negotiated in the media and the parliament.

The effects of juridification of climate politics in the name of climate emergency are poorly understood in academic scholarship and require empirical research. For instance, emergency frames and climate litigation can raise public awareness about the climate crisis and harness the legal sphere to address it. Yet this strategy can also be counterproductive to more effective climate governance, while it can also lead to the criminalization of climate activism.

This project examines the consequences of juridification of climate politics through an interdisciplinary approach from social sciences, drawing on legal anthropology and political ecology. Empirically, this project focuses on the Swiss climate movement and how it mobilizes emergency frames and legal conflicts through different forms of campaigning, protests, and court cases.

The project examines what justice claims activists articulate through different forms of campaigning and protest, what legal strategies climate activists and their lawyers adopt in lawsuits and in litigation trials in the courts, how the state responds to climate activism (through police, prosecutors, judges, legislative initiatives), to what extent climate campaigns and protests, court trials, and the role of the state contribute to public debates about climate change, democracy and civil liberties, emergency and justice, legality and legitimacy.

Methodologically, the project combines desk-based with ethnographic data collection and analysis. Drawing on interdisciplinary research, this project bridges disciplinary, conceptual and methodological silos in research on climate activism and climate litigation.

Drawing on empirical research, the project goes beyond a legal analysis of climate litigation to examine the political effects of juridification at three intertwined levels: i) the role of climate activism and litigation in climate politics and governance, ii) the role of legal conflicts in social and political change, and iii) the relationship between law, the state and civil society in emergency and climate politics.

Keywords: Climate litigation, social movements, climate politics, climate justice, political ecology, legal anthropology

Project leader: Dr. Jevgeniy Bluwstein

Scientific collaborator and PhD student: Lucie Benoit


Report (2023.5.17): Bluwstein, Jevgeniy; Demay, Clémence; Benoit, Lucie (2023). Civil disobedience and climate trials in Switzerland - What are they fighting for in the Swiss courts? Bern: humanrights.ch (pdf EN/FR/DE)

Conservation Labor (CONLAB)


CONLAB seeks to advance interdisciplinary research on labor (e.g. labor geographies) and conservation science (e.g. political ecology) by examining how biodiversity conservation policies, initiatives and projects shape labor dynamics in affected communities across the Global South. Theoretically, we conceptualize conservation as a mode of production that requires and generates value from different forms of paid and unpaid work. We situate conservation labor and theorize it in the broader context of an international conservation labor regime. This labor regime is underpinned by a particular division of labor and labor dynamics in capitalist societies and postcolonial contexts that are characterized by entrenched social hierarchies cutting across gender, class, caste, race and ethnicity. From this vantage point, CONLAB examines the division of labor and labor dynamics i) within and outside of the conservation sector, ii) across social identities of gender, class, caste, and race, and iii) across hierarchies of paid, underpaid and unpaid work for conservation.

Project members: Dr. Anwesha Dutta (PI, Christian Michelsen Institute, Norway), Dr. Jevgeniy Bluwstein (Co-I, University of Bern, Switzerland), Dr. Amber Huff (Co-I, Institute of Development Studies, UK), Dr. Francis Masse (Co-I, Northumbria University, UK)

Project funding: Norwegian Research Council

Dr. Jevgeniy Bluwstein