Research Handbooks in Human Rights series
Edited by Anna Grear and Louis J. Kotzé
Chapter 1: An invitation to fellow epistemic travellers – towards future worlds in waiting: human rights and the environment in the twenty-first century
Every book, in an important sense, ‘frames’ its subject area – not just between two covers but also – inevitably – within a set of epistemic choices or parameters. This book, in particular, is a Research Handbook on Human Rights and the Environment and such a title announces a particular aim. The title ‘research handbook’ implies a kind of authoritative overview – a certain degree of expert epistemic stability and validity. The term ‘frames’ the contribution of the book in a particular way: surely, a reader might think a ‘research handbook’ provides a relatively comprehensive and thoroughgoing initiation into a body of well-accepted, soundly constructed knowledge, covered by experts in its field. It might be comforting to think so – and certainly, many of the contributors to this handbook are world-leaders in the general field of ‘human rights’, and specifically, in the field of the deeply troubled, increasingly important legal nexus between ‘human rights’ and the ‘environment’ – yet matters are not nearly so stable as the term ‘handbook’ implies. For a start, even the term ‘human rights’ (so central to our subject matter) is fraught with ambiguities – as this handbook fully suggests.