Handbook of Territorial Politics
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Handbook of Territorial Politics

Edited by Klaus Detterbeck and Eve Hepburn

The study of territorial politics has enjoyed a renaissance in the last thirty years. Scholars have questioned the state-centric assumptions upon which mainstream social science has been built, pointing to the territorial (re)distribution of power across and within states. This Handbook brings together leading scholars to demonstrate how territory has shaped institutional structures, public policies, elections, political parties, and identity across the world. Offering theoretical, comparative and empirical insights, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of territory on modern political, economic and social life.
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Chapter 17: Territorial politics and environmental policy: a comparison of findings aboutclimate change and resource management policies

Sonja Wälti


This chapter reviews theories, arguments and empirical evidence on how territorial forces shape environmental policies. While common approaches, including comparative environmental federalism, economic federalism, and policy diffusion and convergence, stress that territory shapes environmental policies, they fail to explain how. An actor-centred, and hence political, take on common findings highlights mechanisms by which territorial politics matter. The second part of this chapter does so by distinguishing between three main categories of actors: political parties; interest groups; and federal jurisdictions. Under each heading, findings in the literature are discussed before exploring how those are found to play out in two well-researched policy areas: climate change and resource management. When it comes to climate change action, territorial politics tends to be shaped by party politics and, to a lesser extent today, interest group politics. By contrast, interest group politics and intergovernmental disputes govern the territorial politics of resource management.

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