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Paperback | $32.00 Short | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262600590 | 376 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 2 illus.| March 2004

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Earthly Politics

Local and Global in Environmental Governance


Globalization today is as much a problem for international harmony as it is a necessary condition of living together on our planet. Increasing interconnectedness in ecology, economy, technology, and politics has brought nations and societies into ever closer contact, creating acute demands for cooperation. Earthly Politics argues that in the coming decades global governance will have to accommodate differences, even as it obliterates distance, and will have to respect many aspects of the local while developing institutions that transcend localism.

This book analyzes a variety of approaches to environmental governance approaches that balance the local and the global in order to encourage new, more flexible frameworks of global governance. On the theoretical level, it draws on insights from the field of science and technology studies to enrich our understanding of environmental and development politics. On the pragmatic level, it discusses the design of institutions and processes to address problems of environmental governance that increasingly refuse to remain within national boundaries.

The cases in the book display the crucial relationship between knowledge and power—the links between the ways we understand environmental problems and the ways we manage them—and illustrate the different paths by which knowledge-power formations are arrived at, contested, defended, or set aside. By examining how local and global actors ranging from the World Bank to the Makah tribe in the Pacific Northwest respond to the contradictions of globalization, the authors identify some of the conditions for creating more effective engagement between the global and the local in environmental governance.

About the Editor

Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of Designs on Nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States and other books and the coeditor of Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2004).


"This book makes an important contribution to an ongoing discussion of global environmental governance, and it is a wonderful balance to the many works that see globalization as both inevitable and mostly good. The picture of the global and the local that emerges is complex, nuanced, contextual, and very interesting. Its readability and accessibility to an interdisciplinary audience will make it highly attractive to graduate and undergraduate course adoption in a variety of disciplines."
—Helen Ingram, Professor of Political Science and Warmington Endowed Chair in the School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine
"The authors have undertaken nothing less than tracing and evaluating the links between global governance and environmental politics, with a clear-cut and original stress upon the ways in which local and global dynamics interact. Their conceptualization of these interactions is especially compelling, partly because the links are so crucial to the ways in which environmental issues are subjected to governance but mainly because they probe the links in highly creative and persuasive ways. Their stress on the relevance of science and knowledge, as well as their emphasis on the need to include the local in any analysis of global environmental problems, are recurrent themes that render the book especially distinctive."
—James N. Rosenau, University Professor of International Affairs, George Washington University
"The strength of this book lies in the way it sets forth some of the insights and contributions of the sociology of science for understanding environmental politics and governance. It draws out the connections very nicely, and will be useful for both scholars in the sociology of science/scientific knowledge and in environmental politics and governance."
—Frederick H. Buttel, William H. Sewell Professor of Rural Sociology and Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison