The course will be conducted digitally via Zoom, for the most part in synchronous mode (weekly meetings). Join the introductory session on November 2nd at 10:15 am here:
Join Zoom Meeting https://wwu.zoom.us/j/93568959031
Meeting ID: 935 6895 9031 // ID code: 172824
In the first session, you will receive all relevant information to access our regular Zoom meetings and our shared workspace on Learnweb.
The relationship of democracy and sustainability is a difficult one: while political systems need to be responsive and act fast and decisive in the face of rapidly ensuing climate change, the sustainability scorecard of democracies is less than ideal. Dale Jamieson has recently put it like his: ”Climate change plays into democracy’s weaknesses. It’s a global issue that can only be managed through global cooperation, yet democracies are responsible only to their own voters, which can weaken multilateral efforts and make governments glaringly indifferent to concerns beyond their own borders.”
In this seminar, we will look at the challenges democracies are confronted with in ‘greening’ their societies, i.e. mitigate and adapt to the consequences of global climate change, while at the same time securing or even improving upon democratic achievements – such as individual freedoms, wellbeing, equity or justice. We will look at theories and concepts that address and try to make sense of this relationship (liberal, republican and critical traditions), structures and dynamics (consumerism, global inequalities), actors and governance contexts (the state, citizens, corporations), issues and sectors (biodiversity, human rights) and innovations and experiments (technologies, socio-environmental movements). By doing so, the seminar aims to provide a comprehensive overview of current debates situated at the crossroads where democracy and sustainability scholarship intersect.
Gabrielson, Teena; Hall, Cheryl; Meyer, John M. and David Schlosberg (eds.). 2016. The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kalfagianni, Agni; Fuchs, Doris and Anders Hayden (eds.). 2020. Routledge Handbook of Global Sustainability Governance. New York & Abingdon: Routledge.
Apart from acquiring content-related knowledge in the field of Environmental Politics and Governance, students are expected to read and prepare academic literature systematically for discussion in class and to engage in discussions through reasoned and theory-based argumentation.
Students will be required to hand in short written assignments on a number of topics discussed during the course of the semester. Possible questions to take up in an essay will be provided for each session (”Studienleistung”).
The seminar can be successfully completed by writing a term paper at the end of the semester (word count: 5000-6000, references included; deadline: March 31st 2021) (”Prüfungsleistung”).