This discussion forwards a political economy framework for the analysis of the role and impact of political intervention on the process and outcome of environmental conflicts. The proposed analytic approach, advocated by the class‐centric state perspective, focuses on the economic roots of political action in conflict situations. The paper provides a critique of the existing analytic approaches to conflict analysis. The paper also offers a brief account of Hawaii's land use policy and history of land‐related environmental conflicts to illustrate the potential of the political economy approach.
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