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Handbook of Global Environmental Politics

Edited by Peter Dauvergne

The first Handbook of original articles by leading scholars of global environmental politics, this landmark volume maps the latest theoretical and empirical research in this young and growing field. Captured here are the dynamic and energetic debates over concerns for the health of the planet and how they might best be addressed.
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Chapter 2: Research in Global Environmental Politics: History and Trends

Peter Dauvergne


Peter Dauvergne* What is global environmental politics? What are the core research questions and findings in this field of inquiry? Where do the disciplinary boundaries begin and end? There are no precise answers to these questions. The field of global environmental politics began to emerge in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today, it is no doubt partly grounded in the discipline of political science – in an analysis of the role of states, global institutions, the global political economy, global power, norms and ideology, as well as in theories of international relations. Yet the very nature of almost every question on global ecological change means the research crosses disciplinary boundaries. It means, too, that some of the most innovative research is occurring outside of political science, in disciplines like geography, environmental studies, economics, sociology, law, history, philosophy, development studies, biology and human ecology. There is naturally considerable dispute about where the field begins and ends. The quick growth in the volume of research in global environmental politics over the last decade has further blurred the parameters of this field. Some see the core of the field in the literature on states and global governance. Some see it embedded in international relations theories of environmental regimes.1 Others see the core in the literature on the ecological impact of the global political economy, in the politics of growth, trade, corporations, financing and consumption. Still others see the field as spanning far more, embracing the literature on states and the global political economy,...

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