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Environmental Policies in Their Cultural and Historical Contexts

Authors:

Abstract

Scholars working within the field of comparative environmental policy have regularly noted the disparity in how different countries react to ecological threats. The 1986 Chernobyl accident, a catastrophe that spread measurable amounts of radioactivity across a broad stretch of northern Europe, provides a particularly poignant illustration of the ways in which predominant public responses to environmental risk can vary. During the months following the incident, a number of commentators quipped that the ill-effects of atmospheric dispersal oddly seemed to stop at the German-French border. These remarks were motivated by the sardonic observation that while Germans typically refused to eat locally-grown vegetables during the months following the incident, their French neighbours evidenced no similar vigilance. On a broader scale, we have witnessed over the past decade cross-national variation in the form of Dutch environmental advocates cooperating with industry in a way hardly imaginable in Germany, British eco-warriors burrowing themselves into underground bunkers to obstruct the construction of new roads, and American communities aggressively protesting the construction of hazardous waste incinerators. These multifarious forms of agitation around environmental concerns invariably lead to very different political responses and policy outcomes.
Jan J.
Boersema
.
Lucas
Reijnders
Editors
Principles of Environ
mental
Sciences
With Editorial Assistance by
Joeri
Bertels and Henk
Bezemer
4
springer
r 19
policy
have
regularly
noted
the
disparity
in
holv
It
countries
react
to
ecological
threats'
The
1986
inciclent,
a
trlttnbcr
of comtnetrtators
quipped
that
the
ill-
e11'ects
of
atmospheric
tiispersal
oddly
seented
to
stop
at
tlie Germirn-Frcnch
borcler'.
These
remarks
were
motivtrted
by
the
sardonic
obsetlation
that
rvhile
Gculans
rypically
lelirsed
to
eat
locally-grorvn
vegetables
during
the
months
tbllorving
tlte
incident,
their
Frcnch
neighbours
evidcnced
no similar
vigilance.
On
a broacler
scale,
rve
have
rvitnessed
ovct'
the
past decacle
cl'oss-tliltiollal
variation
in
the
forrn
of
Dutch
gtivirout]lenti.tl
ldvoclttes
coopeIatirtg
rvith
inclustry
in
a
rviry
hardly
imaginable
in Germany'
British
eco-tvarriors
burrorving
themselrres
into
uuder-
ground
bunkers
to
obstruct
the
construction
of
nerv
roacls.
at.rd
Aurerican
communities
aggressively
pro-
tcsting
the
constr!-lction
of
hazardous
waste
incinera-
tors.
'Ihese
rnultilarious
tbrms
of
agitation
arout.td
envirot.tt.ttetttal
cotrcerus
invariably
leacl
to
very
clittbr-
ent
political
respollses
and
policy
otltcomes'
The
traclitional
approaches
used
to
explain
thcse
variations
gencrally
look
at dift'erences
in
the
national
institutions
avaiiable
to
adclress
environmental
prob-
lems
ancl
in countrylvide
economic
organisation'
In
othcr
rvorcls,
orthoclox
social
scientists
grounded
in an
unclerstanding
of
ecological
risk
as
a scientific
object
of
stucly
overrvhelmingly
tocus
their
attentiorl
on
cross-
national
clisparities
in regLrlatory
structllrcs
and
sys-
tems
of
govel-uance
ancl
this
becornes
the
limits
ol their
analyses.
There
can be
little
question
that
institutional
orguni-
sation
ancl
econrxuic
illtel'ests
have
iilpoftaut
bcaring
or.t
thetbrrrrulationofnationalettvirontrretltalcotrrnrittrletris.
Holvever,
to
constrain
evalLrations
to
thcse
so-called
stntctural
consiclerations
is
to
disregard
the
subtle
n'a1's
that
countries
vary
ctrlturally
and
historically
artd
hoit
these
differerlces
shape
the
procluction
of
place-specitic
environmental
knorvledge.
,!1o
acciclent,
a
catastrophe
that
spread
measttrable
of
raclioactivity
acloss
ir broad
stretch
of
northern
provides
a
piulicularly
poignant
illustration
of
the
in
rvhich
predominar.rt
public responses
to ellvll'oll-
I
risk
can
vary.
During
thc
tnonths
tbllorving
the
Cohen
(:
.)
ironmental
Policy
and
Sustainability
at
the
New
Jemey
ute
of
TcchnologY,
Ner'vark,
USA
: nraurie.cohen@
njir.cdu
J.
Boerserna
antl
Lucas
Reijnders
(eds.), Prirrciples
of Er*'ironntenttrl
sciences,
mental
Policies
in
Their
cultural
and
Historical
J.Cohen
Introtluction...
423
Sciencc,
Romanticism,
and
the
Environment
"
424
Studies of
National
Character......
424
Culture,
Historl,
and
the
Environrnent:
-{
Revie*
of
Research
Perspectives
425
-
Ctllttpatatit'eEnl'irontnental
Politics
ancl
Policl'nraking...
426
I Cross-national
Surveys
of
Public
Opinion""
"""
426
-r
Social
Construction
of
Risk............
42'7
*.-l
National
Innovation
StYles
and
Technology
Po1icy..............
427
Public
Understanding
of
Science
and
the
Production
of
Environmental
Knorvledge
428
Responses
to Globat
Environmental
Change
in Nationat
Contexts
428
Conclusion
"""""'
429
1
lntroduction
working
rvitltin
the
lield
of
compatative
euviron-
Springer
Science+Business
Media
By
20l0
ffi
424
M.l. Coher-
.
Environmt
Thcre has
now emerged a school of thou-ght, that
devotes
greater
credence to the social construction of
environmental
issues
(see,
fbr example, Hannigan
1995; Irrvin 1995). Adherents of this
perspective
are
morc likcly
to
highlight
the cultural
and histolical fac-
tors that
influence individLral countries'
predominant
ter.rdencies to
privilege
certain ecological threats
as
paran.Iount
and to clisrniss other lisks as
rnore trivial. It
is to a description
of
this more culturally ancl histori-
cally
infbrrned
mode of environrnental
policy
analysis
that
lhis chapter dcvolc.s ils attention.
19.2
Science,Romanticism,
and the Environment
Within the ranks of
rnainstream
environntental
policy
analysis it has become commonplirce to treat ecologi-
ca1 systems
pLrrely
as objects
of
scientific
scrutiny.
Such an approach for conceptualising nature
has
given
rise to
a
vast number of
specialised
fields.
Regardless of the issue
-
for instance
the
cancer-
inducing effects of industrial chemicals or tl.re
in-rpacts
of
particular
tree-harvesting
practices on soil erosion
-
the response is to seek scientific explanatior.rs
and
scientifically-groundecl
soiutions to environmental
dilemmas.
This
'scientisecl'
approach represents
a distinct
intellectuai
departure
liom
previous
modes ol thought
regarding
the environrlent.r
In earlier eras it
r.vas
com-
nron
for
elements
of the natural sumouncl,
indeed the
biosphere
itself, to be infused
rvith religious, r.nagical,
and spiritual
significance. As sciencc
has become more
pervasive
in
contemporary
life our
more modern cast
of mind has
plesscd
thcse nnderstanclings
to the
periph-
ery. Indeed, there
has been active ei'fort
by
govern-
rncnts, through education ar.rd
othcr spheres of
public
policy,
to conipletely
repr-rdiale such
purportedly
out-
rnoded
notions. After all, to be
modern is
generally
thought to entail
the abandonnteut of such
atlachronis-
tic
patterns
of thought
and the embrace
of science and
rationality.
Nonetheless, even
in the most advanced
nations of
the
world
a
variety
of
altemative epistemologies
tbr
producing
environmental
knorvledge continues to
per-
sist and. in many
cases, to coexist
alongside
more
seemingly sophisticated
rvays of knorving.
While sorr=
of
these
perspectives are informed
by age-old religiou-
tenets,
today's most
pervasive holistic and experienti-
knor.vledge systems
have roots
in tl.re influenti*
Rornantic
movernents of
the 18th and
19th
ceuturie-s. -
is necessary
to speak of
Romanticisi.tt
in the
pltrr-,
sense here because
these
intellecttral clevelopmel.-'
rvcrc
situated
in specilic
national contexts
and
dr:
their
porver liom local cultural and
historical
i
ences
(Porter
and
Teich
1988).
For
instance,
Teutonic Rornanticism,
as initi
articulated
by Gocthe,
rvas
keenly
influenced
German
ecclesiastical
and
political
debates of
the
I
century
(Cohen
1999; Harrington
1996). In
English Rornanticisnt
took as its
point of departtrre
rise of industrialism
aud a
quest
tbr refuge
in an
iC'.
appreciatior.r
for rural
Iandscapcs
(Bate
1991).
Romantic
movement
in the United States,
was
tully inlbnned
by ttontier
myths and
ideals
of
a
tine and untrarnmelled
nature
(Nash
1967). Elsett
tor example
in the Netherlands,
the
relative stabil::-
religious doctrine
during the 1Sth
and l9th
severely
limited the
emergence of a
distinctll'
Romantic
voice
(Rupke
1988).1
The style
and tirnbrc
of Romanticism,
as
r.veii .'
rviry these outlooks
combined
rvith
rttore
-scr
lbnns of
kuorvledge
in the
public dourain,
uet.
strongly
influenced by
factors unique
to
the
and history
oi'individual
piaces.
There
is also a
able
imrr.rutability
to these
qualities as
they recu:,
embed themselves
in educational
institution..
r.lorms,
and
public poiicics. Because
of the
per.:
of these
considerations,
we can
quite reasonablr
about
countries
having diftbrent stylcs
for the
tation
ot ecological
inlorrttetion.
19.3 Studies
of
National
Character
To
contend
that
the
production of enr'
knorvledge differs
cross-nationally
is to
quite
closely
on the
domain of
inquiry
tra;.
cr-iorVn
aS the
*::earch
sugl
1ifi]ce
and
ha'
aiaintain
simi
t
to
thei
:ational
ch
"
..lte
def'en
.-
:n.
fbr
exa
.s;ii
the
Dut(
ltot l
1.'lend
itr
and
i
(Schor
devotinl
initiatr
Dast
end€
-.:"-
rnOCler-n
War
II iv
of
anthr'
-psycholc
-'nited
Sta
,rs
this
li
.
Otfice
of
I
lnd
Rutl
Hoffinan
ilin
natio
*,*ssian
temp
-'lilcl-re
arir
nad
accer
.-cupied
Er-
ntay
hi
,on
Lrnits
c
k
lr'as
not
un
of
rratio
:c
contntitr
ie-9ard
rva
predisp,
at
such
i
-
etpefsona
.-.'
shaping
Hoti,ever,
.
deen.red
i
-.oss-natior
,rnd
this
il
":rdsisht
it
-
':rinished
t
ant
expla
ng l'eseat
rThere
is
a
vast literature on
pre-rnodern
conceptions
of
nature.
Key sources off'ering
an introduction to
these
perspectivcs
include Glacken
(
I
967)
and Thomas
(
I
983).
rLocally-inspired
Ii.orranticisttt
in
the
Nethetllnri.
.
,
linritcd to
a l9th century
Dutch
school of
Ronll;::
-
centred around
the
ivritel Willern
Bildetdijk.
i'amer
Environmental
Policies
in Their Cultural and
Historical Contexts
as the'stlldy of
nationiil charactcr.
This areir of
h
suggests that
people
sharing
geographical
anil
haviug cerlain
institutional colnmonalities
in sinrilar
clispositions and
tempet'arnents
rvith
to
their natural surround.
Moreover,
the notion
.rtionirl character
suggests
that it is
possible to for-
defensiblo methodologies
that enable
us to
,::r. for example,
that Germans
ar:e
ptrnctiliotts
ancl
rhe
Dutch havc
a
plopensity tbr cleanliness.
ps
not sLrrprisingly,
this areti of
research can
v
lend itselfto the
propagation
ofhackneyed
ste-
pes
and
it indeed does sut-fer
liorn a chequered
(Scliooler
1996).
Ilecause ol'thesc
issues it is
devoting
attentior.t
to a briel discussion of
hor.r'
initiatives
to study
national character
dift'er
tast
endeavours.
modern stLrdy of
national character
dates back to
Wr
II rvhen national
govemr.nents
recruited
su-rall
of anthropologists
and
psychiatrists
to
formulate
-,-psychological
profiles
of
the cor.ubatant countries.
--nited
States rvas arguably
the r11ost aggressive
in
,ag
this line of
research and the
Arnerican rnili-
'
Cf
fice of
War Intbrmation cotnnrissioncd
Margaret
lund
Rr-rtli Benedict
to
pt'oduce
several
pieces
of
HofTman 1992).
These
prominent
scholars sought
national
tendencies such
as Japanese tidiness
ian ter.npestuousness
in tel'nts of
nationally com-
styles.
Military
planners in thc United
had access
to sin.rilar
tesearch
perlaining to sev-
pied European countries
and some of this
infor-
may have been
usecl to
prepare
Americat't
:Lrn units during
the final stages of
the rvar.
,,-]s
not
until
the
lolloiving decade that the
inves-
of
national characler began
to shed
its psycho-
commitments,
The
most importaut contribution
:egard rvas
Ahnond anci
Verba's
(1963)
rvork on
predispositions for dclr.roclacy.
These authors
lt such
issues irs civic obligation,
public
trrrst,
associativeness
as t'actors responsible
shaping of
resolve for represeutative
goveru-
Horvever, at
the titne, scholars
of coltiparativc
deemcd
culture ancl
history to be
less irnportartt
-:ass-national
institutional or econon.ric
dil'tbr-
::rcl this
r.vork
did
not receive the
attention that
:nilsight
it no
doubt
deserved.
A relateci
problem
the
signi{icance of culture
and history
ant
explanatory
variables u,as tlte dil'ficulty
of
ing research on these
issues in the absence
of a
425
national characteristics
over others.l
For cxauiple.
crit-
ics
treated Banfield's
(1958)
depiction
of the
clannish-
ness of southern
Italians
quite ltarshly, claimirtg
that
such
poltrayals rvet'e
detemrinistic
attd encottra-Qecl
the
perpetuation of negative
stereotypes.
The rvork of social
psychologist Inkeles
(1997)
has
been central
to eltorts to
l11ove the
study of national
character
onto a
more rigoroirs
tboting
rvithin r-ttain-
stream social scientific
rcsearch. Through
the fbrrnula-
tion ol the concept
of
'modal
personarlity'. Inkeles and
his colleagues
havc sought to dei,ise
methoclologies
for
linking sociocultural
factols
to specific behavioural
respouses
in national
groups.
Despite these clevelopnlellts
there can be
little
ques-
tion that
throughor.rt
most of thc
post-World War II era
the subject of
national character
hirs carried
atr ittcon-
troveltible
stigma. While
lbiv researchers
ivoulcl deny
the existence
of country-specific
traits,
the elusiveness
of these
qualities
to conveutional
researcl"t techniques
hirs tended
to
place their investigation
beyoud
the
bounds of serious
social scicnce
scholarship.
More
rcccr.rtl1,.
ivith
the end
of the Colcl
War ancl the
eftblts
o1'
transnational
policyniaking
boclies
such as
the
Europcan Uriion
to expand thcir
influence,
it has
become
rnore difficult
to sidc-step
the
issue of national
character'.
These developnents
have led to
r.videspread
interest in
horv culture ancl
history
predetcrmines
pttb-
lic
poiicy
outconles
(e.g.
F-ukuyama
1995', Huntin-stotr
1996;
Lipset 1996;
Putnam 1993).
19.4 Culture,
History,
and the
Environment:
A Review
of
Research Perspectives
The increase
)n attentiorr
that the social
sciences
are
norv clevoting
to the cor-r.rplex
r-elationship
among
cul-
ture, history, and
public policy
extends
ir.rto tire area ol
environmental
politics. Intcrestingly, scholars
of cont-
parati\.e
politics
carriecl out
some of
the first studies
of
closs-nationiil
variability in environmental
policyrnak-
ing cluling the
1970s and
1980s as
part
of an ellbrt
tcr
unclerstand
tl.re clivergent
ways coutttries
developed
'There
can also
bo iittlc cluestion thiit
thc study ot
the cttlttrral and
histurical
predetenninilnts of
public
policies, variables that do
not
lcntl ther:rsclvcs
quite
so lcadily
to
quantitative atrd cotnplttet-
driven
rrrctlrodologies,
rvent against the
grain of the titrlcs.
framework that
invariably
privileged
some
426 M.J.
[:
--
programs
lor
arneliorating air and water
poliution
problems
(Enloe
197-5;
Lundclvist
1980; Teich
et
al.
1997; Vogel 1986). These etlbrts rvere
principally
designed to explore horv ditl-erent
political
systcms
and institutional structurcs
gave
rise to distinct forms
of regulatory intervention.
Current work in comparative environmental
politics
and
policy
builds on
this tbundation,
but devotes
greater
attention to the culturai and historical determinants
of tl.re
outcomes. Therc is norv
a
grorving
body of evidence that
these
previously
disregarded lactors do indeed temper
environmental dccision making
at
the macropolitical
levei
of
the nation-state,
as
rvell
as the
production
of situ-
ated environmental knorviedge. For
pulposes
of the cur-
rent
discussion we can organise into six
catcgories
the
diverse
methodologies that researchers arc currently
using to explore the connections
betrveen
culture, l.ris-
tory, ancl
environmentai
policy
making. Most
ol this
rvork
takes
place
at thc conjunction
of
several intcrdisci-
plinary
helds, namely conrparative
politics,
environmen-
tal
social
science, and science and technology studic.s.
19.4.1
ComparativeEnvironmental
Poli
ti cs a nd Pol i cy m oki n
g
Tlie
study of comparative environrnental
politics
and
policymaking
has begun to broaden its scope in
recent
years
to look at
ho"r, r-nore
conventional
concerns
such
as the institutional and economic
structures
of
nations
combine rvith cultural and
historical
determinants to
produce
distinct
policy
outcomes.
Research has
tocused on a variety of specific
policy
areas
including
acid rain
(Boehrner-Christiansen
and
Skea 1993),
vehicle emissions
(Boehmer-Christiansen
and Weidner
1995), rvind energy
(Breukers
ancl Wolsink
2007),
and
ecological taxation
(Andersen
1994), as rvell as broader
thernes such as environmental regulation
(Gouldson
and Murphy 1998), ecological
rnodernisation
(Weale
1992; Hajer 1995), and overall capacity
fbr
environ-
mental retbrm
(Wintle
and Reeve
1994; Jiinicke
aud
Weidner 1997;
Andersen
and
Liefl'erink
1997).
The
bulk
ol this research has tbcused on Europe,
largely
as a
result
of
the relatively intimate level of dia-
logue that takes
place
anrolrg
proximate nations and
the
neeci to
promote
some degree of
policy
conver-
gence
rvithin the context of the European Union
(EU).
iVloreover, the EU has become
over the
past
decade
increasingly influential in the internal affairs
of
it,; .;w*
stituent members at the same time that
it
is expan:q:
its
geographic
range by
drawing
in countries
::*
Eastern
Europe.
In arelated sense,
research has fcr-us#
on the emergence
of
widening environmental
p:wry1
cleavage betrveerl the
EU
and the United States
'
-
serious implications that this
pattern
o1- clivetge
:,,
,'
on the
global governance
of critical environr
problerns
(Vig
and
Faure
2004).
Secondary
policyniaking
institLrtions
har;
:
central roles in the rvave
of interest in con-.:
environmental
politics
and
policy.
For exar:
'
Oiganisation lbr Economic Cooperati'
"
Developnent
(OECD),
a
Paris-based constl
the worlcl's
rvealthiest
nations. has been
an ;::-.
fbrum firr discussing nerv er.rvironmental
pr.
-
cepts ancl tools. The OECD also conducts
i:'.
".
peer
reviervs
of
the
environmental
pertorrr.i:'
-
,
member
nations that
have
the
potential
to
-::-
into dornestic political processes
(sec,
fo:
.
OECD 1996).
Smaller
bodies
such
as
i::.
Council of Nlinisters and thc United
Nationr
;
-
Cornrnission for Europe selve a similar
roi.=
geographically
delirnited basis
(Christiac...-
Latferty 1996).
19.4.2 Cross-nationalSurveysof
Opinion
The
polling
of
public
opinions and
attitr,'-.
ing the environnent has
been fbr about
th::.
a t'ertile held of investigation. Most
of li
"
has been informecl either
by
Catton
at::
(1980) pioneering
notion of a
Neu'E;ri
Paradigm or Inglehart's
(1977)
conceir;
material revolution. Though there
are i6p-,.'
rffi
l'erences betr.veen these two theoretical
.::
they both suggest a
Maslow-inspired
sociai
#;
ical evolution of advanced societies
awal
irw
rnary
preoccupation with economic
sc;i:-.'
enhanced concern
for issues of
social
*pqt'
environmental responsibility. Surveys
h:1., .
ularly
adn.rinistered
to a cross-section
of n-,.
cornpatible methodologies
in an attcnt:.
the extent to
rvhich tlie hypothesisecl
:::
change
might indeed
be
taking
place
'
\W
:
-;illy
lbcur
'
"ers
of tht
,
.
:,rlitical
oL
....
,:i
cfil-t.]e.
It
i:;
rvillingn
n:nmental
p
-:.e
Survey
;
ironment
:
.i-(
il
SOCia
s
:arried
ot
-.ible
tbr
t
*:
intelest
at
:r
srate
of
:nvironm,
L
3i
occurre(
$'r
end
mid-1,
cs
environmr
K4l1'ements
r::nent,
the
.
'.-iries
has
'-.-
tlecacler
-
-
.:rt
in pu
Socio
x'lal
constru
e;&irast
to
t
..rnYlfonll-
;-..
deterrn
^
:hat
natL
".
-.,es
and
i:
.-:
atteltti0
ical
shal
fistun
irnp911
:as-e
embeddr
ml
other
el
"
Douglas
i987;Dak
nportant
i
:j
qualitir
.
..1risk
per
&*-.r. encouragi;
Dunlap 199-5,
Inglehart 1995). Specific
,
:
States
see
X
:nVIrOnmenl
::
-
'3nmental
Policies in Their Cultural and Historical Contexts
.
focuses on the relative
importance
that
:. of the
public
confer Lrpon
the environrnent
.ical objective
(in
cornparison to other issues
',
..rcal obJeclrve
(ln
cornparlson to ottler lssues
.
--rime,
housing, and social
lveltare), as rvell as
.,.
illingness to
pay
tor the
{ir.rar-rcial cost of
ntal
protcction.
\Llrveys reveal that in virtually all countries
rr)nrnent
regularly rises and lalls in its impor-
,' .r
social
concern. Considerable
research has
-.,:ried
out to deternrine the
lactors
that
afc
:le tbr the episodic upticks and dorvnticks
in
'..
.rleresf
ancl
most
o[ these assessments
su-sgest
t,'..:
.rate
ol the economy correlates
quite
closely
ir',.ironrnental comuritment. Governmerltal
.'
scriously unclermine environmental regLrla-
.'
,ccurred
in
the United
States during both the
-:-i
rrlid-1990s, fieqLrently
provoke
a
reaffirma-
::rr ironmcntiil
priorities.
Despite these custom-
Miements
in
public
opinion
concerning the
-i
lnt, the
relative
stauding
ofthe dozen rvealth-
,:r'ies
has rernained fairiv consistent over lhe
&te
decades.
The
Scandinavian
nations typically
;fughest
in
public
support for strong environmental
',i
{
-see,
lbr exan.rple, Dunlap et al.
1993; Nlertig
:.:p
1995; Inglehart 1995).r
Social
Construction of Risk
.,r' constrnctivist
school
ofrisk
studies stands in
t:irast to the dominant
policy pel'spective
that
"
;nvironmental
and technological hazards are
::1 detenninable.
Adherents of this
perspective
-
that nature
is
comprised
of any number of
:-.ties ancl the threats
to rvhich rve choose to
-ii
attention are
invariably
products
of cultural
. r'ical shaping. Scholars
rvorking in this
field
-i:-,.n
important attention
to horv undelstandings
..:: embedclecl in inslitutional
lbnls,
porver
rela-
-.-.-i
other elcments of social
structurc
(see,
fbr
,. Douglas and
Wildavsky 1982; Johtrson and
:987; Dake 1992; Cohen 2000b).
.il'rportant a\renLle
tilL highlighting tlie socially
'--.ed
qualities
of hazard iclentification
has
been
-'.
of
risk perceptiou in clifterent countriss
rvhere
3
rr*rre encouraging
portrayal
of
environmental attitudes
in
kqed States
.see
Kempton
et al. 1995.
it becomes readily evident that
public
responses to
clan-
ger
are by no nreaus cross-nationally consi\tL'ut.
Scholars
ivorking
in this alea have tbcused the hLrlk ol'
their attention on the lvays in lvliich
governn-rents
dif-
t'elently use science ibr
policy puryoses
(Jasanotf
1986.
1990;
Jasanoff and
Wynne
1998) and the tbrni of
national
protest
rnovernents that coalesce in response to
particular
issues
(Nelkin
and Pollak i
98
t; Joppke
1993:
Hallniann 1999). Nuclear
power,
becausc of
its central-
ity in enviror.unentiil debates
cluring the
1970s and
1980s, has pror,icled
the backdrop tirr much of this
rvork, but
as
the clual issues
of
risk
assessment and
risk
rranagernent have
come to be iniportant orgartrsing
concepts in environmental aflirirs, attention
has
clif-
tirsed
to a rnuch broader array of concenls such as bio-
technology
(Tuckeret
al. 2006)
and
global
environmental
change
(Bickerstaff
anci
Walker 2001).
19.4.4 National lnnovationStyles
andTechnology Policy
The
trcnd
to'nvanl
increasing globalisation
ancl its
consequences for tlie econor.r.ric
pi'ospects
of individual
nations has thcilitatecl the emergence
of
a field of schol-
arsl.rip interestecl in horv countries innovatc
technologi-
ca1ly. Attcntion has
been directed torvarcl both
the
cultural dcterminants
underlying entreprel]eurship and
invention, as rvell as national
styles
fbr encoulr.rging
such creativity
(Lunclvall
1992; Nelson 1993). Related
to this
plocess
is the elnergence,
particLrlarly
in
rvesterrr
Europe
,
of'the discourse of ecological moclernisation,
u
policy
programnre
designed to seek conciliertory
interventiorrs to harrnonise economic
grorvth
and envi-
ronmental
protection
(Hajcr
1995; Mol 1995; Cohen
1996).
Quite
central to ecological
rnodernisation is an
emphasis on technological enhancements to
improve
production
efficiencies through the use of alten.retivc
energy sources, the
redesign
of
manufactirring
pro-
cesses, antl the export of advanced environmental
equip-
rnent. The
outpouring
of interest in eco-efficicrtcr.
industrial
ecology, and transition
lnauagenrent is a dilect
result
of
these cleveioprlents
(e.g.
Schmidheinl,
l99i:
Weizsiicker et al.
1997;
Porter and
van der Linde
i99-<:
Elzen
et al. 2005).
Anclrerv .lan.rison and his associates
have erantin::
the cultural and historical determinarlts
th;lt
h.i'.
.shaped national technology
policy
and
hort
'ltt::::-
427
!
428
M.J. Cohen
"9
Environmr
rnent
intervention
in indivrdual
collntries has helped to
promote
ecological modernisation
(Jarnison
1998;
Jamison and
Baark 1999). This rvork describes
horv
seemingly
similar
countries
have responded differently
to the challenges of
industrialisation, both during
the
l9th and early 20th centuries
and in the
posrWorld
War I[
era,
and horv these expericnces
rrrc norv condi-
tioning
particular
approacl.res
tcl
ecological
rnodernisa-
tion.
The
divergent shaping of
policy,
and the
tate of
ongoing
moderr.risation
processes
in ditl'erent
coun-
tries,
has
attl'acted substantial
interest
(e.g.,
Lundqvist
2000; Archambault
2004;
Cohen
2006; Reveil
2007).
19.4.5
Public
Understanding
of Science
and the Production of
Environmental
Knowledge
The corr.rparative study of horv the
publics
of
diltbrent
countries engage rvith scientific intonnation
has
long
been an area of inquiry
(Miller
1996; Durant
et al.
1989). Public trust in science differs
markedly betrveen
countries
(Procter
2006). National
governments in
par-
ticular have evinced considerable
interest in the
public
uptake of science, oiving
to tl.re
persistence of a convic-
tion tltat scientific literacy
has
porverlirl bearing on
economic
competitiveness.
The
perceived cotrnection
betrveen
pubiic
resolve
1br
science
and
economic
per-
lbn.nance
has
promoted
the
rcgular use of
social sur-
veys to
gauge
lay attitudes,
interest,
and understanding
of scientiirc
themes. It
has also becorne
cotumon
tbr
mLrltinational
organisations to
administer these
assess-
ments, to
pubiicise
the resultant
raukings
o[ scientific
competence, and
to deliberate over
tl.re signi{icance
of
ciepartures
iiorn expectations.s As
science
has
become
increasingly essential
in recent decades
lbr the
produc-
tion of envirournental
knoivledge,
research
has begun
to examine horv
science as a mocle of
cultural
commu-
nicatior.r
combines rvith tacit
and lay experiential
evi-
dence to
produce
situated
environmental
interpretations
(Yearley
1991;Michael l99i;
Beck 1992;
Taylor and
5Much
of the
government-sponsored rvork that takes
place
on
the
public
understanding of science
is
infbtmed by the so-called
'dcficit
model.'
This intcrpretation
contetrds that
thc
lay
public
sull'cls from an
irsufficiency of scientific
understancling
and it
is
thcrctbrc necessary
to augmcnt this
capacity. For
a strotrg
cri-
tique of this approach
rve
ret'er to
Wynne
(
1996).
Buttel 1992;
Harrison and Burgess
1994; Eden
1996,
1998; Irrvin and
Wynne 1996; Irrvin
1997).
This line of
investigation has taken
an interest
in
the
cross-national
variation ol enviroumental
knorvledge.
Fol example,
Carolyn
Harrison and
her colleague:
i.rave used household surveys, in-depth
discussiort
groups,
and
ethnographic
techniques
to explore
the
assimilation
of environmental
themes
atnong
grottp:
of
Dutch and British
respondents
(Harrison
et al.
1996:
Burgess
et al. 1998).
In a sitnilar
vein, Cohen
(1995.
2000a) has
used several
large-scale surveys of
the
puh-
lic understanding of
science to examine
the diff'erir:t
levels
o1'lay
commitment
to a
'scientific
ethic' an-rot:;
a cross-section
of
Europeatr countries.
This
rvork illt"-
trates
horv the
production of enr,ironmental
knorvled:,
derives from a
complex anay
of cultr-rral ar.rd
histori..
thctors and then becomes
trartslatcd
into country-:;.-
cific
policy responses.
19.4.6
Responsesto Global
Environmental
Chonge
in Notional
Contexts
As
global
environmental
change
has come
to occui
.''
important
position
on
policy-making agendas
*
-
-
rvide, the
seerningly
unbridgeable dilferences
in na:.
"
priorities have becot.ne
particularly salient.
Iuteirrir:,
negotiations
to achieve
binding
agreelnellts
to
-
greenhouse gas
emissions
have beeu
protl'acted.
"r'
-i
-"
the
r.vell-publicised
discord
between the
develope-
-
developing
countries
on
this issue stems
from
Jaqr:
seated
differences
in economic organisation
and
prd&,
cal
influence, it
could be
argued that
the aim:
world's wealthiest
nations should be
more
congr.lsffi!
This lack
of compatibility
has led
some analysts
l{
;agt
gest
that
the divergent
negotiating
positions
beis@;
for example,
the United
States
and Germanl
rm
grounded in
the
two countries
different
culturaj
re*W
and
historical traditions
(Wynne
L993,1994).
i1{
In response
to
concerns about
global et.tvir..
tal change,
the international
communitl'
'f:;--'
raise to
prominent attention
the
importance
*l rQ
tainable development
and the
1992
Earth
i
held
in Rio
de Janeiro
represented
a
watersh.:
-
regard. One
of the
outcomes
of this
rvidelr
:.
conclave
rvas the
publication of an
actiou
pl".
ral
countries
environmenta
a
ealthiest
nat
\etherlands,
,ambivalently
rievelopment
;ountries
havr
Despite
a cas,
ilrtually
anl
#relopment
;*spiration
(La
Though
thi
"ern
view
of
ar
xith
sustainab
er*-ouraging
ir
*:::portant prer
's:lrne
COUntrie
rctJ vigour
in
tl
,gr;,;ls
of sustair
,ri
have
looke,
'xa*ts
conditio
&.tby 1997).
i9,5
Conc
'
.he
basis
o1
,'
lrovisiona
.
...rely
moclc
-
-'--i
of scient
:.lot
difficul
r
-,
attack
on
-
'..
Critics r
.
::
of
scienr
:'
ihe past
sr
.h
to devia
'
-;.DOflSe,
We
:ians
have
'
--:ically
accr
-'.:.iant
it ma;
*::is
chapter'
; Iocuses srn
inl
knowlec
4ic.
As
such
*
on
any nt
'
,i'.
exarnplc,
,-,:b
(1997)
{'
as Agenda
21 designed
in
part
to encourase
.
Policies
in Their
Cultural
and
Historical
Contexts
tries
to cltart
their own
collrse
s tolvard
greatel'
responsibilitl'.
Sotne
of the
rvorld's
nations,
such
as Srveden,
Gertllany
ancl
the
have started
to
move
cautitlttsly
ancl
y forrvard to
alticulate
rvhat sustainable
might
r.nean
in
practice
r.vhile other
have remained
steaclfastly
on
the side
Iines-
i,r cascade
of
rhetoric
from
all directions,
by
any
rigorous
assessment
sustainable
hiis
to date
proven to be
irtr
clusive
.n
(Lattbrty
ancl
Meadorvcroti
200 I
)
this
general assessl.netlt
stlggests
a
rather
oi'
actual
policy accornplishtnents
consistent
*:stainable
development
thele
are indeed
some
w'eging
intimations
emerging
in certain
places.
precursors are
beginning
to stlggest
that
-
irntries
are
demonstrating
greater in-tenuity
in
the
pursuit of
policies
consistcnt
r.vith
the
rustainability
and a srnall
trandful of
rescarctr-
hoked
at the
culttrral
and
historical
detcrmi-
ronditioning
this
capacity
(e.g.,
Jamison
and
t997).
Conclusion
:-rsis
of
the revierv
ot'fered
in
this chapter,
rve
sionally
assert
that the
ltegemorry
of the
modcrn
notion
of
nattlre
as an
exclusive
'-i
scientif,c
interpretation
is coming
to
an end.
:illicult
to talsely
caricatttre
sttch
an
assertion
on both science
and
ratiortality
nlol'e
gen-
i:itics
might
point
oLrt
that
the extraot'dinary
'
science rests
on
its accLtmttlatcd
sttcccsses
past
several
centuries
and the
lay
public is
:.r deviate
liorn a
scientifically
intbrmed
path.
,
we can simply
note that
sociologists
artd
have
long arguecl
that it is
a
rristake
to
i'
accept
this
naive
vie'uv of science,
horvevcr
it
ruly be
iu certairt
cire
lcs.6
chapter
advances
a far
less ambitious
claim
singularly
otr the
prodtrctiotr
of envit'otr-
.-nowledge
iunong
orclinaly
n-rernbers
of the
\s such,
it suggests
that
people
are
likely
to
-r
any
number
of tacit
and
locally
gror"rncled
:rarnple,
Latour
(1987)
for
a sociologist's
perspective
429
epistemologies
to
tbrtr.rulate
everyday,
ri'orkable
inter'-
pretations of
their
natnral
surrouucl.
These trndct
stand-
ings
rvill tl.reu
be channellcd
into
en'n'ironmcntal
politics
rvhere they
rvill inf}.rence
the
clesign
and
rntplementa-
tion
of
public
policies.
Such
observations
strould
not
be takell
to
mean
that
ordinary
people are
tundamcntally
opposed
to scietrce.
but
rathcr
that they
ale
inclined
to
generaLe nlelrtlitr*gs
appropriate
tbr
particLrlar siiuated
contexts.
Alan
Invin
has
ernployecl
the usefirl
tertn
'citizen
scietlce'
kr
clescribe
this
proccss of
lay environt'tleutal
knolvleclge
production.
Social
scientists
havc at
present only
a
par-
tial understandrng
of horv
the
lay
public
gelleratL's
citi-
zen
science,
but thete
is little
qtlestiotl that
thc specific
cultural
and
hrstorical
context
has
great bearing
on
the
public
policy
process.
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