R. Scott Frey was Doing Critical Environmental Justice Long Before Anyone Else


  • David N. Pellow UC Santa Barbara




transnational trade, critical environmental justice, political economy


The term critical environmental justice (EJ) studies was perhaps first used in the early 2000s and has been become more mainstream in the last two years. R. Scott Frey’s research on the transnational trade in hazardous substances reveals that he was producing critical EJ studies scholarship well before that. Frey’s body of work has advanced the fields of world-systems theory and environmental sociology because it skillfully explores the violence of militarism and the brutality of capitalism and economic globalization, while also making clear that positive and transformative social change is possible when independent, grassroots movements mobilize within and across international borders. Frey’s research provide us with an impressive set of analytical tools for imagining and bringing into existence another world that would be more socially just and environmentally sustainable.

Author Biography

David N. Pellow, UC Santa Barbara

Environmental Studies Program



Frey, R. Scott. 2006. “The International Traffic in Asbestos.” Nature, Society and Thought 19(2): 173-180.

Frey, R. Scott. 2013. “Agent Orange and America at war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.” Research in Human Ecology 20(1): 1-10.

Frey, R. Scott. 2015. “Breaking Ships in the World-System: An Analysis of Two Ship Breaking Capitals, Alang India and Chittagong, Bangladesh.” Journal of World-Systems Research 21(1): 25-49. At: http://jwsr.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/jwsr/article/view/529

Frey, R. Scott. 2013. “The E-waste Stream in the World System.” Pp. 196-208 in Jim Sheffield, Andrey Korotayev, and Leonid Grinin, eds, Globalization: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Litchfield Park, Arizona: Emergent Publications.

Nixon, Rob. 2011. Slow violence and the environmentalism of the poor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Pellow, David. 2017. What is Critical Environmental Justice? UK: Polity Press.




How to Cite

Pellow, D. N. (2019). R. Scott Frey was Doing Critical Environmental Justice Long Before Anyone Else. Journal of World-Systems Research, 25(1), 169–174. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2019.908



In Memoriam: A Tribute to the Contributions of R. Scott Frey