European Discourses on Environmental Policy

Marcel Wissenburg (University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands), Gökhan Orhan (Balikesir University, Turkey), and Ute Collier (WWF, UK) (eds); Aldershot: Ashgate 1999, 256 pages, ISBN 1-84014-777-6

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"It is the merit of the essays collected in this book that the reader comes to understand the different ways in which the understanding of discourse helps make sense of European environmental policy... The reader who benefits from this volume will hope that it is not the last on the topic that IRNES produces." — Professor Albert Weale, University of Essex

European Discourses on Environmental Policy offers the reader a representative selection of recent work on environmental policy in Europe, with special attention to the scope and policy instruments used, the level of application from global to local, and the relation between the European Union and its constituent parts. Three unifying topics return in every possible context: discourse, diversity, and the heavily politicized character of environmental policy processes in Europe.

It is argued that environmental policy is not "post-political": after a political decision has been taken, the political battle simply goes on. In explaining policies and the behavior of policy actors, institutional and structural factors are often insufficient. Discourses play an independent role here. The conceptions and interpretations of the aims and context of a policy develop over time and differ widely at any given moment in time. The result is policy diversity: the co-existence within Europe of several types of policy aimed at solving the same problem. Whether this is a beneficial development is one of the questions this book tries to answer.


List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
Foreword by Albert Weale

Part I: Theoretical Perspectives

  • "Post-decisional" politics in the European Union — a threefold agenda for future research
  • European environmental policy at the intersection of institutions and ideas
  • Political modernization and the institutionalization of environmental policy

PART II: Structure and Background

  • Towards sustainability in the European Union — beyond the rhetoric
  • Does subsidiarity make a difference to the EU environmental institutions?
  • The mobilization of ecological world views in a post-corporatist order

Part III: Implementing Environmental Policy

  • Negotiated science — the case of agricultural biotechnology regulation in Europe
  • Policy learning within the between countries — waste policy styles in the Netherlands and Bavaria
  • Mobilization and institutionalization in decision-making processes around large scale infrastructure



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