Politics of the Environment

Drawing on a variety of disciplinary approaches, this module examines the political challenges surrounding environmental policy in contemporary developed and developing societies, alongside the theoretical and practical tools and skills used in their resolution. Using a range of case examples from the Global North and South (including in rural areas), it examines state-of-the-art concepts and policy approaches to address these challenges. In doing so, it advances the notion of science as a socially constructed endeavour in analysing the evidence base on conflicting policy issues.

The module is structured around critical questions including:

  • How do environmental politics/environmental policy challenges come about?
  • What are the processes by which environmental politics emerge/are defined?
  • Who is involved in making decisions and how are values and knowledges mobilised to underpin them?
  • How can we reconcile conflicts between different forms of rationality with the need to be environmentally accountable and responsible?
  • What are 'good' decisions and ‘good’ environmental governance and outcomes?

By the end of the module you will be able to:

  • Acquire knowledge of origins and manifestation of different environmental challenges in the Global North and Global South.
  • Acquire knowledge of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, concepts and theories for assessing and addressing environmental challenges in the Global North and Global South.
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches and their fitness for purpose to deal with a range of different environmental challenges.
  • Be able to critically apply ideas introduced in the module to the evaluation and design of environmental policies and decision-making processes.