Edited by Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Victoria Brooks
Chapter 2: How to think about ‘nature-society’ interactions in environmental law ‘in action’
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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