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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 23: Science and Environmental Citizenship

Sheila Jasanoff


Sheila Jasanoff Historians of the late 20th century may come to see that period as the proving ground for a new transnational politics, no longer wholly determined by the actions of sovereign nation-states, or even by interactions among them. Instead, the transnational arena emerged as a partially independent political sphere, governed by regimes that could not be characterized simply as the intersection of autonomous national politics and interests. In important respects, it was the environmental activism of the era that prompted the jump from the national to the transnational. Confronted by increasingly persuasive evidence of an Earth of finite resources (Miller and Edwards, 2001; WCED, 1987), states proved willing to cede some of their juridical and territorial rights in order to find appropriate collaborative arrangements for planetary governance and coexistence (Benedick, 1998; Litfin, 1994, 1998). Other novel markers of political organization and activity on a global scale also took shape in the context of environmental protection: transnational networks of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) committed to environmental issues, among others (Keck and Sikkink, 1998); coalitions of multinational companies subscribing to norms of sustainability, as well as corporate social responsibility (Schmidheiny, 1992); and supranational expert communities dedicated to producing an internationally recognized knowledge base for collective action on the environment (Haas, 1989, 1990). Political coalitions and international agreements (Weiss and Jacobson, 1998), administered by new ‘institutions for the earth’ (Haas et al., 1994), were among the more tangible indicators of an emergent domain of global environmental politics. Less visible, though potentially of...

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