Rethinking the Green State: Environmental governance towards climate and sustainability transitions, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Rethinking the Green State

Environmental governance towards climate and sustainability transitions, 1st Edition

Edited by Karin Bäckstrand, Annica Kronsell


278 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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This innovative book is one of the first to conduct a systematic comprehensive analysis of the ideals and practices of the evolving green state. It draws on elements of political theory, feminist theory, post-structuralism, governance and institutional theory to conceptualise the green state and advances thinking on how to understand its emergence in the context of climate and sustainability transitions. Focusing on the state as an actor in environmental, climate and sustainability politics, the book explores different principles guiding the emergence of the green state and examines the performance of states and institutional responses to the sustainable and climate transitions in the European and Nordic context in particular. The book’s unique focus on the Nordic countries underlines the important to learn from Nordics, which are perceived to be in the forefront of climate and sustainability governance as well as historically strong welfare states.

With chapter contributions from leading international scholars in political science, sociology, economics, energy and environmental systems and climate policy studies, this book will be of great value to postgraduate students and researchers working on sustainability transitions, environmental politics and governance, and those with an area studies focus on the Nordic countries.


"Rethinking the Green State provides a fresh stocktaking of theoretical and empirical research on the green state while also introducing some new ideas, such as transition theory. This is a very engaging and welcome intervention that will revitalise the debate about the role of the state in the quest for a sustainable world."Professor Robyn Eckersley, University of Melbourne, Australia

"Bäckstrand and Kronsell are to be commended for an excellent volume that explores the state's role in environmental governance. The book pays particular attention to the emerging global challenge of climate change, offers interesting typologies of state responses to environmental issues, and suggests a more developed theorization of the Green state." –James Meadowcroft, Professor and Canada Research Chair, School of Public Policy, Carleton University, Canada

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part 1: Theorizing the Green State 2. Lost in Transition? The Green State in Governance for Sustainable Development 3. Governing Beyond or With the State? Conceptions in Studies of Non-State Climate Action 4. The Green State and the Prospects of Greening Sovereignty Part 2: Performance of the Green State in a Comparative Perspective 5. Green States in Europe: A Comparative View 6. The "Green" Potential of Small Island States: A Comparative Study 7. Greening the State, American Style Part 3: Transforming the State toward Climate Objectives: Nordic experiences 8. Blue and Yellow Makes Green? Ecological Modernisation in Swedish Climate Policy 9. Towards a Decarbonised Green State? The Politics of Low-Carbon Governance in Sweden 10. Negotiating Green Growth as a Pathway towards Sustainable Transitions in Finland Part 4: Transforming the Polity toward Climate and Sustainability Objectives 11. Greening the State of California: Governmentality and the Subjectification of the Polity through Climate Governance 12. The Green State and the Design of Self-Binding: Lessons from Monetary Policy 13. The Green State and Empathic Rationality 14. Conclusion

About the Editors

Karin Bäckstrand is Professor in Environmental Social Science in the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University, Sweden.

Annica Kronsell is Professor in theDepartment of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Sustainability

Sustainability has become one of the most pressing social, environmental, economic, cultural and political issues of our times. Yet the meaning of ‘sustainability’ remains elusive.

This series provides original insights from across the social sciences and humanities on the meaning and practice of sustainability. It offers both theoretical and practical analysis of ‘sustainability’, including social sustainability, sustainable consumption, democratic sustainability and sustainable behaviour.

These interdisciplinary books give students, researchers, policy makers and practitioners the latest thinking from international authors. This thought-provoking series draws on and is relevant to those working in a wide-range of disciplines, including environment, development, sociology, politics, philosophy, business and marketing, media, geography, and anthropology.

To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy