The Collaborative Management of Sustained Unsustainability: On the Performance of Participatory Forms of Environmental Governance

Blühdorn, Ingolfur ORCID: and Deflorian, Michael (2019) The Collaborative Management of Sustained Unsustainability: On the Performance of Participatory Forms of Environmental Governance. Sustainability, 11 (4). p. 1189. ISSN 2071-1050

Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

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n modern democratic consumer societies, decentralized, participative, and consensus-oriented forms of multi-stakeholder governance are supplementing, and often replacing, conventional forms of state-centered environmental government. The engagement in all phases of the policy process of diverse social actors has become a hallmark of environmental good governance. This does not mean to say, however, that these modes of policy-making have proved particularly successful in resolving the widely debated multiple sustainability crisis. In fact, they have been found wanting in terms of their ability to respond to democratic needs and their capacity to resolve environmental problems. So why have these participatory forms of environmental governance become so prominent? What exactly is their appeal? What do they deliver? Exploring these questions from the perspective of eco-political and sociological theory, this article suggests that these forms of environmental governance represent a performative kind of eco-politics that helps liberal consumer societies to manage their inability and unwillingness to achieve the socio-ecological transformation that scientists and environmental activists say is urgently required. This reading of the prevailing policy approaches as the collaborative management of sustained unsustainability adds an important dimension to the understanding of environmental governance and contemporary eco-politics more generally.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: One of the authors conducted parts of this research in relation to the project Urban Experiments for Socio-Ecological Transformation: The Smart City and Degrowth Spaces, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF, P31226-G29).
Keywords: environmental governance; performance; politics of unsustainability; eco-political disability; simulative politics
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Gesellschaftswandel und Nachhaltigkeit
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2019 13:42
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2019 10:05
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