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Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, Second Edition

Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, Second Edition

Elgar original reference

Edited by Peter Dauvergne

The second edition of this Handbook contains more than 30 new and original articles as well as six essential updates by leading scholars of global environmental politics. This landmark book maps the latest theoretical and empirical research in this energetic and growing field. Captured here are the pioneering and lively debates over concerns for the health of the planet and how they might best be addressed.

Chapter 40: Ecological Citizenship Revisited

Andrew Dobson

Subjects: environment, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


Andrew Dobson1 I had two intentions when I published a book called Citizenship and the Environment in 2003. First, to make a contribution to the boom in theorizing about issues surrounding citizenship as a concept, and second, to intervene in policy debates regarding ways of encouraging proenvironmental behavior. Since publication there have been a number of different reactions to the book in both these contexts, and I would like to take this opportunity to outline these developments and to offer some responses to them. I hope this will push along a little further the already flourishing field of citizenship and environment studies. First, though, I need to outline the basic argument of the book. The question that confronts anybody analyzing the relationship between citizenship and the environment is whether the main traditions of citizenship can “contain” the environmental problematic. Put differently, is the “environmental citizen”2 a kind of liberal, civic republican or cosmopolitan citizen – or something else altogether? I examined each of these grand citizenship traditions and came to the conclusion that while each of them contained something that we would recognize in a putative environmental citizenship, none of them mapped exactly on to it. Briefly, then, liberal citizenship shares with environmental citizenship the idea of rights – especially environmental rights, and even more especially the idea of the right to environmental or ecological space. Liberal citizens are thus bearers of rights, and we can see how this language – and this idea – is easily transposed to the environmental context. Next,...

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