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Agony and the Anthropos

Democracy and Boundaries in the Anthropocene

Amanda Machin

The Anthropocene diagnosis, in which humanity has become a disruptive geological force, indicates an irresolvable political paradox. The political demos is inevitably and necessarily bounded. The Anthropocene, however, heralds the anthropos—the globalized more-than-human identity. The anthropos challenges the maintenance of political boundaries, yet any robust response to ecological predicament must be underpinned by a decisive demos. This article, informed by theories of political agonism, suggests that this paradox importantly provokes ongoing political contestation of the inevitable yet contingent exclusions from politics and the proper place of political boundaries in the Anthropocene. The article concludes that the Anthropocene diagnosis provides an opportunity for a lively democratic politics in which the demos is always prompted to reimagine itself and asks, who are “we” in the Anthropocene?

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The French Carbon Tax

Autopsy of an Ambition

Éloi Laurent

The French carbon tax was to become in 2010 the centerpiece of the country's new climate change mitigation strategy. After a heated public debate, the Constitutional Council, France's higher constitutional law body, censored the executive's proposal, which in turn, in the aftermath of a severe electoral defeat, announced the indefinite postponement of the carbon tax. This article tries to make sense of this important sequence in French contemporary public life by reviewing its different facets: environmental economics, political economy, constitutional law, and finally politics.

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Catherine Mei Ling Wong

In East Asia, climate change as a policy concern has been a late developer. The last decade, however, has seen the mainstreaming of environmental issues in core policy circles, but in the form of market-friendly, pro-industrial development framings. This paper problematizes such environmental framings by looking at the politics of state-led ecological modernization and the institutional reforms that have emerged out of it. It argues that State-led ecological modernization necessarily leads to environmental framings that are too narrowly defined by state and industrial interests - hence the focus on carbon emissions, energy security and the impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The State-driven assumption that society can modernize itself out of its environmental crisis through greater advancements in technological development also ignores the fact that this process often leads to the creation of other environmental and social problems, which in turn undermines the fundamental goals of stability and sustainability. Civil society needs to be given greater space in the policy and framing processes in order to have a more balanced policy approach to environmental reform in a more equitable way.

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William T. van Markham and C.S.A. (Kris) Koppen

This article investigates the messages about climate change that ten nature protection organizations in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States communicate to their members and the public through their Internet sites, member magazines, and annual reports. Based on analysis of this content, we conclude that all the organizations address climate change, but to varying extents and in differing ways. All of the organizations note that climate change is a major problem, has a significant impact on nature, and should be addressed mainly via mitigation. With the partial exception of the Dutch groups, all also inform their members about domestic climate change politics. Other themes, including international dimensions of climate change, adaptation to climate change, consumer behavior, collaboration with and criticism of business, and efforts to pressure business or government received less emphasis overall. How much emphasis the organizations gave these themes was conditioned by their traditions, constituencies, national context, and international affiliations.

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Ingolfur Blühdorn

Following the end of their government coalition with the Social Democratic Party, German Green Party leaders spoke of "a dawn of new opportunities" for Alliance 90/The Greens. They wanted to capitalize on the strategic opportunities afforded by Germany's new five-party system and on the unexpected rise of climate change in public debate. Shortly before the 2009 federal election, however, the party's "new opportunities" seem rather limited. Selectively focusing on one particular explanatory factor, this article contrasts the Green's neo-radical eco-political position as it has emerged since 2005 with the ways in which environmental issues are addressed by the currently popular LOHAS (Life of Health and Sustainability) consumer movement. It suggests that the German Greens may have paid too little attention to the ongoing reframing of the environmental issue in public discourse and that this has impaired their prospects for a swift return to government office.

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Huub de Jonge, Tomasz Płonka, Reginald Byron, Longina Jakubowska, Cindy Horst, Han ten Brummelhuis and Jeremy Boissevain

Albert Schrauwers, Colonial ‘reformation’ in the highlands of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, 1892–1995

Chris Gosden, Anthropology and archaeology: a changing relationship

Jane Nadel-Klein, Fishing for heritage: modernity and loss along the Scottish coast

’Aref Abu-Rabi’a, Bedouin century: education and development among the Negev Bedouin in the twentieth century

Marc Sommers, Fear in Bongoland: Burundi refugees in urban Tanzania

Richard Parker, Beneath the Equator: cultures of desire, male homosexuality, and emerging gay communities in Brazil

Klaus Eder and Maria Kousis (eds.), Environmental politics in Southern Europe: actors, institutions and discourses in a Europeanizing society

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Transforming Participatory Science into Socioecological Praxis

Valuing Marginalized Environmental Knowledges in the Face of the Neoliberalization of Nature and Science

Brian J. Burke and Nik Heynen

Citizen science and sustainability science promise the more just and democratic production of environmental knowledge and politics. In this review, we evaluate these participatory traditions within the context of (a) our theorization of how the valuation and devaluation of nature, knowledge, and people help to produce socio-ecological hierarchies, the uneven distribution of harms and benefits, and inequitable engagement within environmental politics, and (b) our analysis of how neoliberalism is reworking science and environmental governance. We find that citizen and sustainability science often fall short of their transformative potential because they do not directly confront the production of environmental injustice and political exclusion, including the knowledge hierarchies that shape how the environment is understood and acted upon, by whom, and for what ends. To deepen participatory practice, we propose a heterodox ethicopolitical praxis based in Gramscian, feminist, and postcolonial theory and describe how we have pursued transformative praxis in southern Appalachia through the Coweeta Listening Project.