Climate Crisis and the Democratic Prospect: Participatory Governance in Sustainable

Frank Fischer Oxford University Press

Abstract

Can contemporary democratic governments tackle climate crisis? Some say that democracy has to be a central part of a strategy to deal with climate change. Others say that experience shows it not to be up to the challenge in the time frame available—that it will require a stronger hand, even a form of eco-authoritarianism. This work seeks to sort out and assess the competing answers to a question that is not easily resolved. While the book supports the case for environmental democracy, it argues that establishing and sustaining democratic practices will be difficult during the global climate turmoil ahead, especially if confronted with permanent states of emergency. This inquiry undertakes a search for an appropriate political-ecological strategy capable of preserving a measure of democratic governance during hard times. Without ignoring the global dimensions of the crisis, the analysis finds an alternative path in the theory and practices of participatory environmental governance embodied in a growing relocalization movement, and a form of global eco-localism. Although these movements largely operate under the radar of the social sciences, the media, and the political realm generally, such vibrant socio-ecological movements not only speak to the crisis ahead, but are already well established and thriving on the ground, including ecovillages, eco-communes, eco-neighborhoods, and local transition initiatives. With the help of these ideas and projects, the task is to shift the discourse of environmental political theory in ways that can assist those who will face the climate crisis in its full magnitude in real terms.

 

 

Chapters

 Introduction

 

Part I Climate Change, Crisis and the Future of Democracy: Setting the Stage

  1. Ecological Crisis and Climate Change: From States of Emergency to “Fortress World”?
  2. Democracy at Risk: From Citizen Activism to Techno-Environmentalism
  3. Technocratic Strategy as Central Steering: From Sustainable Development to Transition Management

 

Part II Democratic Prospects in the Face of Climate Crisis

  1. Environmental Democracy and Ecological Citizenship: From Theoretical Ideals to Practical Alternatives?
  2. The Green State as Environmental Democracy? Political Power, Globalization, and Post-Democracy

 

Part III Environmental Democracy as Participatory Governance

  1. Participatory Environmental Governance: Civil Society, Citizen Engagement, and Participatory Policy Expertise
  2. The Community Forest Movement in Nepal as Participatory Governance: Civil Society, Deliberative Politics, and Participatory Expertise
  3. Practicing Participatory Environmental Governance: Ecovillages and the Global Ecovillage Movement

 

Part IV Making Theory Matter: From Resilience to Eco-Localism and Participatory Governance

  1. Urban Sustainability, Eco-Cities, and Transition Towns: Resilience Planning as Apolitical Politics
  2. Relocalization for Sustainable Communities: Participatory Ecological Practices and Theoretical Foundations
  3. Sustaining Democracy in Hard Times: Participatory Theory for Local Environmental Governance

 

Conclusion

 

 

The Author

 

Frank Fischer has until recently been Distinguished Professor of Politics and Global Affairs at Rutgers University in the USA. Currently, he is research scholar at the Institute of Social Sciences at Humboldt University in Berlin. He is co-editor of Critical Policy Studies journal and Handbook of Public Policy Series editor for Edward Elgar. 

 

In addition to widely lecturing around the world on environmental politics and policy analysis, he has published 16 books and numerous essays. These include :

  • Citizens, Experts and the Environment (Duke 2000),
  • Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices (Oxford 2003),
  • Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics and Methods, co-edited with Mara Sidney and Gerald Miller (Taylor and Francis 2006),
  • Democracy and Expertise: Reorienting Policy Inquiry (Oxford 2009),
  • The Argumentative Turn Revisited: Public Policy as Communicative Practice, co-edited with Herbert Gottweis (Duke 2012),
  • The Handbook of Critical Policy Studies, co-edited with Douglas Torgerson, Anna Durnova and Michael Orsini ( Elgar 2015)

 

In addition to research in the United States and Germany, he has conducted field research in India, Nepal and Thailand on citizen participation and local ecological knowledge. He has also received numerous awards, including the Harold Lasswell Award for contributions to Public Policy Scholarship. In 2017 he received the Aaron Wildavsky APSA Award for enduring contribution to the field of policy studies.

 

 

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