Process Tracing in the Study of Environmental Politics
Abstract

This article surveys the use of process tracing as a method in research on global and comparative environmental politics. It reveals that scholars have been reluctant to explicitly embrace the method, even though a great deal of environmental politics research relies on process tracing and studies causal mechanisms. I argue that the growing number of critiques that the subfield is overly descriptive and insufficiently focused on explanation is one consequence of the reluctance to explicitly embrace process tracing. Drawing on recent debates on causal mechanisms within the philosophy of social science and a growing literature on how to trace processes, this article outlines best practices in the application of the method in the study of environmental politics. I consider some ways in which the use of process tracing in the study of environmental politics may be different from its use in other areas of comparative politics and international relations.


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