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Comparative Environmental Politics

Theory, Practice, and Prospects

Edited by Paul F. Steinberg and Stacy D. VanDeveer

Publication Year: 2012

Combining the theoretical tools of comparative politics with the substantive concerns of environmental policy, experts explore responses to environmental problems across nations and political systems

Published by: The MIT Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Series Foreword

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pp. ix-x

The study of comparative environmental politics and policy dates back at least to the 1970s, when scholars began to compare systematically the way different countries dealt with environmental problems of the time. As interest in the environment and environmental policy grew over the succeeding decades, comparative studies lagged to some extent...

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pp. xi-xii

Given the highly collaborative nature of this project, and our goal of promoting a new field of research that amounts to more than the sum of its parts, it is fitting that from start to finish this book has benefited from the insights of scholars working in diverse areas of inquiry. Above all, we are grateful to the chapter authors for their energetic...


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pp. xiii

Part I. Building Bridges: Comparative Politics and the Environment

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Chapter 1. Comparative Environmental Politics in a GlobalWorld

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pp. 3-28

At first glance, the Maine lobster industry and traditional forest users in western Uganda would appear to have little in common. Yet upon closer examination — and with the benefit of the right analytic tools — patterns emerge that suggest common elements of social organization and similar challenges. In each area, resource users have collectively devised..

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Chapter 2. Bridging Archipelagos: Connecting Comparative Politics and Environmental Politics

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pp. 29-60

Systematic comparisons of domestic environmental politics allow us to move beyond ill-defined exhortations to “ save the planet ” toward a greater understanding of the vast array of social responses to environmental problems in diverse countries around the globe. With the help of conceptual tools that enable meaningful comparisons across national borders, we can gain insights into the cause-and-effect relationships that lead states and...

Part II. Greening States and Societies

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Chapter 3. Greening the State?

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pp. 63-88

The constitution of the environmental domain as a distinct sphere of government activity is a comparatively recent phenomenon. It was only in the late 1960s and early 1970s that governments across the developed world moved decisively to put in place the foundations...

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Chapter 4. The Globalization of Environmental Concern

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pp. 89-112

Conventional wisdom has long held that widespread citizen awareness of environmental problems and support for environmental protection were phenomena limited to wealthy, highly industrialized, and primarily Northern Hemisphere nations. The early emergence of environmentalism and green parties in North America and Northern European...

Part III. Nonstate Actors and Social Mobilization

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Chapter 5. The Comparative Study of Environmental Movements

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pp. 115-142

For almost twenty years, the Goldman Environmental Prize has been awarded annually to individuals from six continents engaged in environmental activism in their native countries. Recent winners include a Russian working to protect Lake Baikal from pollution, a Belgian who helped establish that country ’ s first national park, a Mexican working with indigenous...

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Chapter 6. Business-State Relations and the Environment: The Evolving Role of Corporate Social Responsibility

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pp. 143-170

In both environmental studies and comparative political economy, the corporation is a central actor affecting political and economic outcomes (for excellent overviews, see Kraft and Kamieniecki 2007 ; Haggard, Maxfield, and Schneider 1997 ). A large body of literature assumes that in developed and developing countries alike, business interests can capture...

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Chapter 7. Political Parties and the “Meaning of Greening” inEuropean Politics

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pp. 171-196

The first deputy to win a seat in a national parliament anywhere in the world under green party colors did so in Switzerland in October 1979. By the end of the millennium, green parties had secured representation in almost every western European legislature. There has also been a bloc of greens in the European Parliament since the elections of 1984. The rise of green parties was one response to rising anxieties over problems affecting...

Part IV. Institutional Effectiveness across Political Systems

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Chapter 8. Democracy and the Environment in Latin America and Eastern Europe

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pp. 199-230

Environmental politics is not just a technical policy area that operates the same way in all countries. Instead, one of the most important insights that the study of comparative environmental politics brings to research on the global environment is that the nature of the larger political system that surrounds environmental policymaking is critical for the kinds...

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Chapter 9. Institutional Change in Authoritarian Regimes: Water and the State in Egypt

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pp. 231-254

Egypt ’ s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation is an imposing, multistory concrete building in Cairo, on the bank of the Nile River, surrounded by gates, with a small lawn and fountain on the interior. 1 It towers above the surrounding neighborhood of Imbaba, a densely populated district that attained notoriety in 1992 when the Mubarak regime besieged...

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Chapter 10. Welcome to the Jungle: Policy Theory and Political Instability

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pp. 255-284

Environmental politics is fundamentally about social change — in values, behaviors, patterns of economic activity and, crucially, in political institutions. The transformative aspirations of environmental politics are part of what makes this such an exciting arena for students and social reformers alike and a fertile opportunity for pairing the substantive concerns

Part V. Comparative Multilevel Governance

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Chapter 11. EU Expansion and the Internationalization of Environmental Politics in Central and Eastern Europe

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pp. 287-312

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have experienced a profound integration in international and regional institutions in the last twenty years. Environmental cooperation was an important aspect of the long journey from the relative isolation of the former communist countries from the Western world to full membership in the European Union and participation in hundreds of multilateral treaties and institutions...

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Chapter 12. Local Institutions and the Governance of Forest Commons

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pp. 313-340

In the past two decades, scholarly writings on commons and common property have led to one of the more productive research programs in the social sciences. This program comprises thousands of peer-reviewed articles, new research on collective action, social-ecological systems, and cross-scale sociopolitical interactions, a solid body of findings based on rigorous investigations and thriving debates, and translation of these findings...

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Chapter 13. Federalism, Multilevel Governance, and Climate Change Politics across the Atlantic

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pp. 341-368

Human activities and their many byproducts are changing the climate of our planet. These changes, like the contributions of different countries and communities to climate change, vary substantially around the world. Every year, the average US citizen pushes almost 20 tons of carbon into the atmosphere while Europeans, Chinese, and Indians...

Part VI. Future Directions

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Chapter 14. Comparative Theory and Environmental Practice: Toward Doubly Engaged Social Science

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pp. 371-404

Participants in environmental studies programs typically approach research with a set of pressing real-world concerns that they hope will be illuminated with further study. What will it take to reverse trends toward the extinction of fish populations worldwide? How can we protect biodiversity while promoting rural livelihoods? Can business be greened...


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pp. 405-424

Further Reading

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pp. 425-426

E-ISBN-13: 9780262301152
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262195850

Page Count: 440
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Environmental policy -- United States.
  • Comparative politics -- United States.
  • United States -- Environmental conditions.
  • United States -- Politics and government.
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