Ecological Modernisation Around the World: Perspectives and Critical Debates, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ecological Modernisation Around the World

Perspectives and Critical Debates, 1st Edition

Edited by Arthur P.J. Mol, David A. Sonnenfeld


312 pages

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pub: 2000-04-01
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The idea of ecological modernisation originated in Western Europe in the 1980s, gaining attention around the world by the late 1990s. At the core of this social scientific and policy-oriented approach is the view that contemporary societies have the capability of dealing with their environmental crises. Experiences in some countries demonstrate that modern institutions can incorporate environmental interests into their daily routines. Elsewhere, economic and political interests dominate development trajectories and environmental deterioration continues, challenging the premises of ecological modernisation. This volume brings together research on ecological modernisation practices around the world. Studies on Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, the USA, and Southeast Asia examine the applicability of this approach to advanced industrial countries, transitional economies and developing countries respectively. Authors critically examine the premises of ecological modernisation theory, assess its value for understanding past and present environmental transformations, and outline paths for designing future sustainable development. Taken together, the studies in collected this volume offer significant refinements, extensions and critiques of ecological modernisation theory and suggest important directions for future research on social and policy dimensions of environmental change.


"A rich source of historical and theoretical context. I would recommend the Mol and Sonnenfeld volume." John Ehrenfeld, Journal of Industrial Ecology, January 2004

"Surveys the current state of the art from both theoretical and empirical angles" Michael Parnwell." Asia Pacific Viewpoint, April 2002

"A useful addition to the growing literature on ecological modernization." David Gibbs - Economic Geography, October 2001

"In showing the conditions for success and failure of EM [Ecological Modernization] in practice … an extremely rich book." Hein-Anton van der Heijden - Environmental Politics, Autumn 2001

"Refreshing and multifaceted empirical reflections on the validity of EMT [Ecological Modernization Theory]." Nayna Jhaveri - Environment and Planning C, August 2001

Table of Contents


1. Arthur P.J. Mol and David A. Sonnenfeld, "Ecological Modernisation Theory around the world: an introduction"

Theoretical Perspectives

2. Arthur P.J. Mol and Gert Spaargaren, "Ecological modernisation in debate: a review"

3. Gert Spaargaren and Bas J.M. van Vliet, "Lifestyles, consumption and the environment. The ecological modernisation of domestic consumption"

4. Maurie Cohen, "Ecological modernisation, environmental knowledge, and national character"

Case Studies from Around the World

Advanced Industrial Countries

5. David Pellow, Allan Schnaiberg, and Adam Weinberg, "Putting the ecological modernisation thesis to the test: the promises and performance of urban recycling" (USA)

6. Pekka Jokinen, "Europeanisation and ecological modernisation: agri-environmental policy and practices in Finland"

Transitional Economies

7. Leonardus Rinkevicius, "Ecological modernisation as cultural politics: transformations of the civic environmental activism in Lithuania"

8. Zsuzsa Gille, "Legacy of waste or wasted legacy? The end of industrial ecology in postsocialist Hungary"

Developing Countries

9. David A. Sonnenfeld, "Contradictions of ecological modernisation: pulp and paper manufacturing in South-East Asia"

10. Jos Frijns, Phung Thuy Phuong and Arthur P.J. Mol, "Ecological modernisation theory and industrialising economies: the case of Viet Nam"

About the Series

Environmental Politics

Over recent years environmental politics has moved from a peripheral interest to a central concern within the discipline of politics. This series aims to reinforce this trend through the publication of books that investigate the nature of contemporary environmental politics and show the centrality of environmental politics to the study of politics per se. The series understands politics in a broad sense and books will focus on mainstream issues such as the policy process and new social movements as well as emerging areas such as cultural politics and political economy. Books in the series will analyse contemporary political practices with regards to the environment and/or explore possible future directions for the ‘greening’ of contemporary politics. The series will be of interest not only to academics and students working in the environmental field, but will also demand to be read within the broader discipline.

The series consists of two strands:

Environmental Politics addresses the needs of students and teachers, and the titles are published in paperback and hardback.

Routledge Research in Environmental Politics presents innovative new research intended for high-level specialist readership. These titles are published in hardback only.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography