1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Democracy and Sustainability

Edited By Basil Bornemann, Henrike Knappe, Patrizia Nanz Copyright 2022
    536 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook provides comprehensive and critical coverage of the dynamic and complex relationship between democracy and sustainability in contemporary theory, discourse, and practice. Distinguished scholars from different disciplines, such as political science, sociology, philosophy, international relations, look at the present state of this relationship, asking how it has evolved and where it is likely to go in the future. They examine compatibilities and tensions, continuities and changes, as well as challenges and potentials across theoretical, empirical and practical contexts.

    This wide-spanning collection brings together multiple established and emerging viewpoints on the debate between democracy and sustainability which have, until now, been fragmented and diffuse. It comprises diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives discussing democracy’s role in, and potential for, coping with environmental issues at the local and global scales. This handbook provides a comprehensive overview of arguments, claims, questions, and insights that are put forward regarding the relationship between democracy and sustainability. In the process, it not only consolidates and condenses, but also broadens and captures the many nuances of the debate.

    By showing how theoretical, empirical and practical accounts are interrelated, focusing on diverse problem areas and spheres of action, it serves as a knowledge source for professionals who seek to develop action strategies that do justice to both sustainability and democracy, as well as providing a valuable reference for academic researchers, lecturers and students.

    1. General Introduction: Democracy and Sustainability (Basil Bornemann, Henrike Knappe, Patrizia Nanz) Part I: Origins and Developments 2. Origins and Developments of Democratic Thinking and Practice (Felix Heidenreich) 3. Sustainable Development: Between Reformist Change and Radical Transformation (Susan Baker) 4. Democracy and Sustainability: An Evolving Relationship (Manuel Arias Maldonado) Part II: Theories and Concepts 5. Inclusion, Participation and Future Generations (Maija Setälä) 6. Political Representation and Sustainable Futures (Henrike Knappe) 7. Deliberation and Sustainability: From Policy Instrument to Emancipation (Marit Hammond & Graham Smith) 8. Temporality and Democratic Sustainability (Rosine Kelz, Henrike Knappe & Alexander Neupert-Doppler) 9. Sustainability, Democracy and the Value of Freedom (Marcel Wissenburg) 10. Sustainability, Well-being and Justice (Paul Burger & Marius Christen) Part III: Structures and Dynamics 11. Escalating Side Effects: The Transformation of Modern Society through Processes of Cosmopolitanization, Acceleration and Increasing Global Risks (Hartmut Rosa & Ulrich Beck) 12. Capitalism, Consumerism and Democracy in Contemporary Societies (Beate Littig, Michael Jonas & Karl-Michael Brunner) 13. Power and Democracy in the Transition to Sustainability (Lena Partzsch) 14. Postsecularity and Sustainable Development (Jens Köhrsen) Part IV: Actors and Governance Contexts 15. The Modern State and Sustainability: Challenges to Governance (Daniel Fiorino) 16. Corporate Power and the Shaping of Sustainability Governance (Doris Fuchs & Sophie Dolinga) 17. Non-state Actors and the Legitimacy of Climate Governance (Jens Marquardt & Karin Bäckstrand) 18. Global Governance and Democracy: Aligning Procedural and Substantive Accounts?  (Magdalena Bexell) 19. Urban Sustainability and (Post-)Democracy: Policies, Practices and Movements (Marit Rosol & Vincent Béal) 20. Science and Democracy: Partners for Sustainability? (Jennifer Bansard & Sandra van der Hel) Part V: Issues and Policy Areas 21. Climate Change and Green Democratic Transformations (Amanda Machin) 22. Biodiversity Conservation and the Role of Democracy (Stefan Ewert & Susanne Stoll-Kleemann) 23. Gendered Pathways of Democracy to Sustainability (Philippe Doneys, Bernadette Resurrección) 24. Migration and Mobility: Environmental, Social and Political Dimensions (Katrin Sontag) 25. Food Sustainability and Food Democracy: Exploring the Links (Basil Bornemann) 26. Health and Human Rights (Markus Sperl, Anna Holzscheiter, Thurid Bahr) Part VI: Innovations and Experiments 27. Behavioral Economics and Nudging (Tobias Gumbert) 28. Collaborative Consumption: A Mechanism for Sustainability and Democracy? (Anna Davies) 29. Socio-Environmental Movements as Democratizing Agents (Viviana Asara) Part VII: Challenges and Perspectives 30. Sustainable Development and Regime Type: What Can We Learn from a Comparison of Democracies and Autocracies (Stefan Wurster) 31. Democratic Governance and Environmental Sustainability: Engaging the Technocratic Challenge Deliberatively (Frank Fischer) 32. Reframing the Anthropocene: Democratic Challenges and Openings for Sustainability (Aysem Mert & Jens Marquardt) 33. Post-Democracy and Post-Sustainability (Ingolfur Blühdorn) 34. Structural Irresponsibility: Politics of an Imperfect Future (Barbara Adam)


    Basil Bornemann is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Social Research and Methodology Group and the Sustainability Research Group, University of Basel, Switzerland. He has an interdisciplinary study background in environmental sciences and holds a PhD in political science from Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany, and a venia legendi in political science and sustainability research from the University of Basel. His research focuses on sustainability-oriented governance transformations and their democratic implications in various areas such as energy and food. At present, he is involved in a research project on "Sustainabilisation of the State" funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Basil is further interested in principles and practices of transformative sustainability research.

    Henrike Knappe is a post-doc scholar and research group leader at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany. Previously, she was a research associate at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen and held guest fellowships at the University of Washington, Seattle and Stockholm University. Her research interests are future representations in global environmental politics, practices of translation, as well as postcolonial and feminist futures.

    Patrizia Nanz is a political scientist and expert on democracy, citizen participation and sustainable transformations. Currently, she is Vice President of the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Disposal (BASE), Germany. She is also co-director of the Franco–German Forum for the Future, a dialogue forum for societal transformations. Previously, she has been Scientific Director at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Co-Chair of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 for the German government and Professor of Transformative Sustainability Science at the University of Potsdam.

    "Is more, less or a different democracy needed to address the challenges of climate change or biodiversity collapse? This handbook explores the relationship between democracy and sustainability and ways to reconcile them. It insists on representation and deliberation design; it explores the role of religions, multinationals, cities and science; and uncovers the implications for food systems, the right to health, nudging and collaborative consumption. The interdisciplinary line-up of theoretical and empirical experts concurring to this state-of-the-art achievement is impressive. The book’s kaleidoscope of perspectives is key for anyone seeking a non-superficial understanding of these issues and non-naïve solutions to address them."

    Axel Gosseries, FNRS Research Professor (Maitre de Recherches) and Extraordinary Professor, UC Louvain, Belgium


    "Leading European experts and exciting emerging scholars explore the nexus of democracy and sustainability. Moving (far) beyond a stale binary in which sustainability either requires democracy or is at odds with it, this handbook delivers many insights and truly advances our understanding of theory, discourse, and practice. Among the growing list of handbooks, this one really stands out!"

    John M. Meyer, Professor of Politics, California Polytechnic State University, Humboldt, USA


    "This book is both timely and urgent, as it brings together important perspectives on the intrinsic relationship between democracy and sustainability – forming a prerequisite for creating a better world for all. Scholars from a range of social science disciplines provide theoretical and empirical insights on the pertinent issues for debate and action within this field of research, resulting in a comprehensive overview of great value for academics, students and practitioners."

    Katarina Eckerberg, Professor in Political Science, Umeå University, Sweden


    "This timely book assembles an impressive collection of thoughtful contributions that explore the relationship between democracy and sustainability. The reader is invited on a journey from the origins of the debate through theoretical reflections, considerations of structures, actors and governance to the discussion of specific issue areas, innovations and future challenges. Offering a kaleidoscope of perspectives rather than definitive answers, this volume makes a convincing case that the questions of democracy and sustainability are intertwined and urgent, emerge in manifold ways and call for reflexivity, creativity, collaboration and mutual recognition - here and now, but also beyond the space and time of traditional polities."

    Peter H. Feindt, Professor of Agricultural and Food Policy, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany