Edited by Peter Dauvergne
Chapter 40: Ecological Citizenship Revisited
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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