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Arthur P.J. Mol

This paper aims to understand and illustrate how and to what extent the increasing role and importance of information, informational processes, and information technologies have changed the environmental policies and politics of state institutions. More specifically, how have states tried to find answers to the dilemmas resulting from a growing centrality of informational processes in environmental governance? As such, the paper sets out the contours of what can be labeled informational governance on the environment.

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Niki Frantzeskaki, Jill Slinger, Heleen Vreugdenhil and Els van Daalen

This article presents the reframing of flood management practices in the light of social-ecological systems governance. It presents an exploratory theoretical analysis of social-ecological systems (SES) governance complemented by insights from case study analysis. It identifies a mismatch between the goals of the underlying ecosystem paradigms and their manifestation in management practice. The Polder Altenheim case study is an illustration of the consequences of flood management practices that do not match their underlying paradigm. The article recommends two institutional arrangements that will allow institutions to increase their capacity to co-evolve with SES dynamics: (a) institutional arrangements to ensure and enable openness in actor participation, and (b) institutional arrangements to enable updating of the management practices in response to SES dynamics.

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Veronica Strang

Environmental management in Australia has recently shifted away from local rural communities into the hands of largely urban environmental and government agencies, sparking an intensifying contest for the control of land and resources between geographically and socially stable communities and more mobile translocal groups. There are major disjunctions between the conceptual models promulgated in this contest. Highly specific, holistic, and integrative cultural paradigms of human-environmental interaction vie with an increasingly dominant technomanagerial environmental model emerging from global discourses and knowledge practices. Categorizing "Nature" as a separate, nonhuman domain, this more cosmopolitan approach fails, intellectually and practically, to integrate social and cultural issues into environmental management. Nevertheless, its proponents are provided with increasing authority by their relationships with wider agencies of governance. Building on long-term ethnographic research in Far North Queensland, this paper explores how local and cosmopolitan environmentalisms are contested in a particular ethnographic context.

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Ludger Helms

While the Federal Republic has been famously characterized as a "grand coalition state," the Merkel government, formed in the after-math of the 2005 federal election, is only the second CDU/CSU-SPD coalition at the federal level since 1949. A comparison of the present administration with the first grand coalition government (1966-1969) reveals a wealth of differences that include some of the basic parameters of governing and governance in Germany, such as the structure of the party system and the overall public climate. Also, the personnel features and patterns of informal coalition governance under Chancellors Angela Merkel and Kurt-Georg Kiesinger display major differences. Arguably the single most important difference between the two administrations, however, relates to the level of public policy, with the Merkel government seeking to reverse some of the key decisions of its historical predecessor. Such u-turn dynamics have been particularly tangible in the field of federal system reform.

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Democratising Global Governance

Democratic Theory and Democracy beyond Borders

Anthony G. McGrew

The prospect of a global economic recession, in the wake of the financial crises in the world’s emerging economies, has injected a sense of renewed urgency into longstanding discussions about the reform of global economic governance. But the calls for greater transparency and openness in the deliberations of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are largely symptomatic of a deeper legitimation crisis which afflicts all the key institutions of global governance, including the United Nations itself. For there is a growing perception that existing mechanisms of global governance are both ineffectual in relation to the tasks they have acquired, especially so in managing the consequences of globalisation, whilst also being unaccountable sites of power.

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Jeffrey D. Hilmer

Foundations and Frontiers of Deliberative Governance by John S. Dryzek

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Remaking Oceans Governance

Critical Perspectives on Marine Spatial Planning

Luke Fairbanks, Noëlle Boucquey, Lisa M. Campbell and Sarah Wise

Marine spatial planning (MSP) seeks to integrate traditionally disconnected oceans activities, management arrangements, and practices through a rational and comprehensive governance system. This article explores the emerging critical literature on MSP, focusing on key elements of MSP engaged by scholars: (1) planning discourse and narrative; (2) ocean economies and equity; (3) online ocean data and new digital ontologies; and (4) new and broad networks of ocean actors. The implications of these elements are then illustrated through a discussion of MSP in the United States. Critical scholars are beginning to go beyond applied or operational critiques of MSP projects to engage the underlying assumptions, practices, and relationships involved in planning. Interrogating MSP with interdisciplinary ideas drawn from critical social science disciplines, such as emerging applications of relational theory at sea, can provide insights into how MSP and other megaprojects both close and open new opportunities for social and environmental well-being.

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Environmental and natural resources governance

Rethinking public-private relationships

Carmen Maganda and Olivier Petit

Talking about environmental and natural resources (ENR) governance today is generally related to the search for holistic elements to achieve sustainability. Political ecology clearly points out and debates the need to see ENR, particularly those related to vital necessities, as global public goods. It sounds like an easy equation: How can we achieve sustainability without sharing access, costs, benefits, and of course governance of ENR needed for all human activities? However, as logical as it seems, development inequalities and unregulated market relationships on the management of these resources are still predominant. Therefore, environmental governance and sustainability is still one of the major contemporary global challenges.

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Strategies of Governance

Michel Foucault on Power

Roger Deacon

How and why is it that we in the West, in our arduous and incessant search for truth, have also built into and around ourselves intricate and powerful systems intended to manage all that we know and do? This, arguably, was the key problem to which Foucault applied himself. Central to his critical, historical ontology of Western, and especially Enlightenment, reason is an investigation of the constitutive relations between the operation of power relations, the production of knowledge, and ways of relating ethically to oneself and others. This article examines Foucault’s account of the relations of power which are said to underpin contemporary thought and to regulate and subject modern individuals. Contrary to the belief that Foucault’s conception of power is dogmatic and all-encompassing, leaving no room for progressive resistance or change and flowing over into the realm of theory such that truth itself becomes questionable, it is argued here that Foucault offers us an analysis of relations of power as ‘strategies of governance’ which depend for their operation on the existence of free subjects capable not only of resistance but of positively producing effects of truth in reality.

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Deliberative Safeguards and Global Governance

A Market-based Approach to Address Garrett W. Brown's 'Deliberative Deficit' within the Global Fund

Alejandro Agafonow

Garrett W. Brown has argued that donor voting caucuses produce a deliberative deficit between donor and non-donor members in the Global Fund International Board. Although we agree with this assessment, in our research on low-transaction cost alternatives to cope with consistent deliberative conditions (i.e. low-cost arrangements to bring about the exchange among Board members in a certain way) we have found that deliberation and interest-based preference maximisation are not necessarily mutually exclusive, as long as we manage to stop donor members from behaving like monopolists. To this end, we have to open up the Board from its present state of non-transparency, so that new input can be obtained from new constituents. This will also soften the current principal-agent structure that links members to their donors, easing the transition to market-driven governance rules that provide for the replacement of Board members if they do not fulfil the new constituents' expectations.