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 13: Environmentalism and an anarchist research method

Peter Burdon and James Martel


The dominant method in environmental law is reductionist, doctrinal, solution focused and betrays an unacknowledged belief in the ‘end of history’. Moreover, it is open to a very narrow and highly privileged range of perspectives. By contrast, this chapter draws predominately on traditional and contemporary anarchist literature to advance an alternative legal method. We begin by recovering key insights from the social ecologist Murray Bookchin. Of particular relevance to this paper is Bookchin’s materialist understanding of the environmental crisis and the conditions for social change. Following this, we draw on writers from Peter Kropotkin to Max Haiven to describe the role of ‘activist research’ in environmental law. This involves collaboration between researchers and people involved in environmental movements under study, and by hybrid activist/academic identities on the part of researchers.

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