WG 10 The Green State – University of Copenhagen

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NESS 2013 > Working groups > WG 10 The Green State

WG 10 The Green State

During the last decade scholarly work on environmental governance has advanced by exploring institutions, different modes of governance, often comparing policies in different countries. We argue there is a need to revisit the state as an actor in environmental, climate and sustainability politics from different theoretical, empirical and methodological vantage points. The workshop invites scholars to explore the possibilities of a green, ecological and sustainable state from critical, normative or empirical perspectives. While Eckersley’s book The Green State (2004) was pioneering, there is a lack of systematic analysis of the implications of environmental and climate governance on state theories and how we understand the state. This is the workshop’s point of departure. Can the state imperative of economic growth change or is it already changed? Is there evidence of a broadening of political community, a different view on citizenship or a new social contract? Are institutional changes necessary: can the current institutions and governance forms be reformed. For example, is green corporatism a way to modernize the state while including interests in society? Is the welfare state better equipped to make the transition to a green, sustainable and low-carbon society as suggested by Meadowcroft (2005)? Is deliberative democracy still a relevant option for the inclusion of civil society and legitimation of policies (as suggested by Dryzek 2010, Bäckstrand et al 2010)? Is planning the solution most relevant for the long-term transitions to low carbon societies? What are the optimal means for governance in a green state? These are some suggestions on what type of questions may be relevant for a deeper inquiry into the notion of a green state to be explored in the workshop.


Karin Bäckstrand, Lund University
Annica Kronsell, Lund University