Negotiating the Environment : Civil Society, Globalisation and the UN book cover
1st Edition

Negotiating the Environment
Civil Society, Globalisation and the UN

ISBN 9780367606602
Published June 29, 2020 by Routledge
144 Pages

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Book Description

Civil society participants have voiced concerns that the environmental problems that were the subject of multilateral environmental agreements negotiated during the 1992 Rio processes are not serving to ameliorate global environmental problems. These concerns raise significant questions regarding the utility of negotiating agreements through the UN. This book elucidates the complexity of how participants engage in these negotiations through the various processes that take place under the auspices of the UN—primarily those related to climate and biological diversity.

By taking an ethnographic approach and providing concrete examples of how it is that civil society participants engage in making policy, this book develops a robust sense of the implications of the current terrain of policy-making—both for the environment, and for the continued participation of non-state actors in multilateral environmental governance. Using data gathered at actual negotiations, the book develops concepts such as participation and governance beyond theory. The research uses participant observation ethnographic methods to tie the theoretical frameworks to people’s actual activities as policy is generated and contested.

Whereas topics associated with global environmental governance are traditionally addressed in fields such as international relations and political science, this book contributes to developing a richer understanding of the theories using a sociological framework, tying individual activities into larger social relations and shedding light on critical questions associated with transnational civil society and global politics.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


List of Acronyms

Chapter 1: The Politics of Nature and the Nature of Politics

Chapter 2: Setting the Scene: The UN as an Ethnographic Research Site

Chapter 3: The Contested Terrain of Action: Civil Society in UN Climate Negotiations

Chapter 4: Civil Society Engagement in Regulating Biotechnology under the UN

Chapter 5: The Elephant in the Room: The Treadmill of Production as the Root Cause of Environmental Harm


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Lauren E. Eastwood is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, USA.