Environmental Politics and Deliberative Democracy

Environmental Politics and Deliberative Democracy

Examining the Promise of New Modes of Governance

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand, Jamil Kahn, Annica Kronsell and Eva Lövbrand

Can new modes of governance, such as public–private partnerships, stakeholder consultations and networks, promote effective environmental policy performance as well as increased deliberative and participatory quality? This book argues that in academic inquiry and policy practice there has been a deliberative turn, manifested in a revitalized interest in deliberative democracy coupled with calls for novel forms of public–private governance. By linking theory and practice, the contributors critically examine the legitimacy and effectiveness of new modes of governance, using a range of case studies on climate, forestry, water and food safety policies from local to global levels.

Chapter 1: The Promise of New Modes of Environmental Governance

Karin Bäckstrand, Jamil Khan, Annica Kronsell and Eva Lovbrand

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy


Karin Bäckstrand, Jamil Khan, Annica Kronsell and Eva Lövbrand In August 2008 the European Commission invited European Union (EU) citizens and stakeholders from industry, trade unions, consumer organizations, environmental NGOs and academia to comment on the design of a future climate treaty beyond 2012. The consultation covered both normative and technical issues and was organized in the form of an online questionnaire distributed via the European Commission’s webpage.1 This attempt to engage public and private actors in a debate over European climate policy exemplifies a governance trend that extends well beyond the EU. We call this trend ‘the deliberative turn’, which we take to mean an increased attention in environmental politics to procedural qualities such as participation, dialogue, transparency and accountability. Although the deliberative turn may be more rhetorical than practical, we argue that it is epitomized by the recent proliferation of ‘new’ modes of environmental governance. During the past decades environmental policies on local, national, EU and global levels have become associated with the rise of less hierarchical and more collaborative governance arrangements (KoehnigArchibugi and Zürn, 2006; Smismans, 2006). Stakeholder dialogues, citizen juries, network governance, public–private partnerships and voluntary standards are some examples of the deliberative, participatory and market-oriented strategies that have gained ground in policy areas such as food safety, forestry and climate change (for example Meadowcroft, 2004; Bäckstrand, 2006, 2008; Lövbrand et al., 2009; Pattberg, 2007). In this book we approach this governance trend as an empirical phenomenon, analysed in literature...

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