Research Methods in Environmental Law
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Research Methods in Environmental Law

A Handbook

Edited by Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Victoria Brooks

This timely Handbook brings innovative, free-thinking and radical approaches to research methods in environmental law. With a comprehensive approach it brings together key concepts such as sustainability, climate change, activism, education and Actor-Network Theory. It considers how the Anthropocene subjects environmental law to critique, and to the needs of the variety of bodies, human and non-human, that require its protection. This much-needed book provides a theoretically informed analysis of methodological approaches in the discipline, such as constitutional analysis, rights-based approaches, spatial/geographical analysis, immersive methodologies and autoethnography, which will aid in the practical critique and re-imagining of Environmental Law.
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Chapter 2: How to think about ‘nature-society’ interactions in environmental law ‘in action’

Bettina Lange


The purpose of this chapter is to facilitate socio-legal research about environmental law ‘in action’ by introducing three perspectives which can serve as heuristic devices for conceptualizing ‘nature-society’ interactions in environmental law ‘in action’. The first perspective suggests that we can trace through legal texts, as well as Guidance Documents and enforcement practices, how nature and society become represented and constructed in specific ways. A second approach, which builds on Actor-Network Theory, decentres law and attributes a more active role to nature. Here nature and society are ‘co-constructed’ in networks that also include law. The third approach – which is the focus of this chapter – recognizes the place-based characteristics of ‘nature’, and captures society-nature interactions in environmental law through the idea of mapping regulatory onto natural spaces. The chapter further illustrates this latter perspective through the example of Integrated Water Resource Management, a key policy concept that informs water law in a number of jurisdictions.

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