Environmental Politics and Deliberative Democracy
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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.
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Chapter 8: The Deliberative Turn in Swedish Sustainability Governance: Participation from Below or Governing from Above?

Roger Hildingsson


Roger Hildingsson INTRODUCTION The promise of ‘new’ modes of governance examined in this book clearly relates to contemporary efforts to promote sustainable development. The concept of sustainable development has, ever since the Brundtland Report in 1987 and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio 1992, provided an overarching framework and an impetus for policy innovations and experimentation with various modes in environmental governance, in particular in developed countries. The sustainable development discourse is aligned with the post-Rio participatory mantra on bottom-up implementation and inclusion of stakeholders and with what is referred to in this book as a deliberative turn to environmental politics. Despite this, states have assumed the most prominent role in the process of achieving sustainable development. Thus, sustainability reforms have to a large extent been state-led and characterized by transforming the hierarchical forms of governance. In this chapter such state reforms to enact modes of sustainability governance are studied in the context of Sweden. The objective is to examine how institutional reforms and policy innovations to promote broader notions of ‘sustainability governance’ in the Swedish context have transformed the rationalities and forms of environmental governance, and to what extent they adhere to deliberative ideals as set out in the introduction (see Chapters 1 and 3). The term ‘sustainability governance’ is closely associated with the normative governance tradition, as outlined in Chapter 1, which promises to resolve problems of legitimacy and effectiveness. A specific aim is to assess how such innovations have affected the deliberative...

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