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 21: Listening to the world: sounding out the surroundings of environmental law with Michel Serres

Danilo Mandic

Abstract

This chapter draws on the work of the French philosopher Michel Serres and his exposition of the notions of appropriation, the distinctions of subjects and objects, hard and soft pollution, and local and global perceptions, and discusses them as essential devices for the legal comprehension of the environment. This chapter has a triple intent. First, it aims to deploy Serres’s thinking on nature and its broken relation to humanity in order to recognise how law with its principles, functions and operations plays a significant role in constituting both this break, and this relation. Serres’s excogitation on law reveals that our relation with nature is intrinsically a legal one. Second, by identifying Serres’s understanding of the relationship between law and nature, this chapter offers a way into ‘sounding out’ environmental law, and importantly, to recognise law as antecedently ‘environmental’ (before even being called specifically environmental). At first glance contradictory but still within the aims of this handbook to provide novel methods to approaching and understanding environmental law, the final aim is to employ Serres’s ‘anti-method’ and understanding of knowledge. This important aspect of Serres’s idiosyncratic approach is gradually unfolded in the text that follows.

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