Books  Sustainable Development  Environmental Management 

Rationality and the Environment: Decision Making in Environmental Politics and Assessment

By: Bo Elling

281 pages, Tabs

Earthscan

Paperback | Jul 2010 | #185986 | ISBN-13: 9781849710787
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NHBS Price: £31.99 $41/€38 approx
Hardback | Feb 2008 | #170889 | ISBN-13: 9781844075249
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NHBS Price: £89.99 $115/€107 approx

About this book

Environmental assessment and management involve the production of scientific knowledge and its use in decision making processes. The result is that within these essentially rational, political assessment frameworks, experts are creating and applying scientific knowledge for decision and management purposes that actually have strong ethical and aesthetic dimensions. Yet these rational political frameworks lack the tools to provide guidance on ethical and aesthetic issues that affect the wider public.

This revolutionary work argues that ethical and aesthetic dimensions can only be brought into environmental politics and policies by citizens actively taking a stand on the specific matters in question. The author draws on Habermas's trisection of rationality as cognitive-instrumental, moral-practical and aesthetic - expressive, to suggest that truly effective environmental policy needs to activate all three approaches and not favour only the rational. To achieve this objective, the author argues that public participation in environmental policy and assessment is necessary to counteract the dictatorship of technical and economic instrumentality in environmental policy - the failure to take ethical and aesthetic rationalities into account - and, more importantly, how such policy is applied on the ground to shape our natural and material world.

'Rationality and the Environment [will] play a major role in the advancement of environmental management thinking' Chris Wood, co-editor of SEA and Land Use Planning 'Required reading for anybody with an interest in environmental management' Niels West, University of Rhode Island, USA


Contents

Preface; Introduction; The Environment as a Goal; Modernity and Reflexivity; Ecological Modernization; The Environmental Politics of Modernity; Bibliography.

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Biography

Bo Elling is a Reader at Roskilde University, Denmark. His research focuses on modern society and environmental planning and regulation, with particular emphasis on SEA for land use planning, SEA at the policy level, and the knowledge and rationality that public participation brings to the SEA process.

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