Ecological Politics and Democratic Theory

The Challenge to the Deliberative Ideal

By Mathew Humphrey

© 2007 – Routledge

172 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415553933
pub: 2009-05-21
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415314312
pub: 2007-04-26
US Dollars$158.00

About the Book

This volume examines the reasons why some despair at the prospects for an ecological form of democracy, and challenges the recent ‘deliberative turn’ in environmental political thought.

Deliberative democracy has become popular for those seeking a reconciliation of these two forms of politics. Demand for equal access to a public forum in which the best argument will prevail appears to offer a way of incorporating environmental interests into the democratic process. This book argues that deliberative theory, far from being friendly to the environmental movement, shackles the ability those seeking radical change to make their voices heard in the most effective manner.

Mathew Humphrey challenges beliefs about the relationship between ecological politics and democracy at a time when those who take direct action are being swept up in the War on Terror. By calling for a more open and contested form of democracy, in which the boundaries of what constitutes ‘acceptable’ behaviour are not decided in advance of actual debate, Ecological Politics and Democratic Theory is an original contribution to the literature on environmental politics, ecological thought and democracy.


'There are lessons in this book, not just for political theorists but for advocates, radicals, scientists and anyone who aspires to set an agenda that may go against commonly-held beliefs about acceptable discourse. It is an essential text for any scholars at doctoral level or above who have interest in environmental politics'

Environmental Politics

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Ecological Politics Against Democracy 1. Crisis Management: Eco-Authoritarianism and the Inadequacy of Democracy 2. Anarcho-Primitivism and Direct Action Politics 3. The War on ‘Eco-Terror’ 4. The Justification of Environmental Direct Action Part 2: Democracy, Deliberation, and Ecological Outcomes 5. Ecology, Autonomy, and Liberal Democracy 6. Deliberative Democracy and the Challenge of Radical Environmentalism 7. Radical Environmentalism and the Idea of Public Reason. Conclusion

About the Author

Mathew Humphrey is Reader in Political Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, UK

About the Series

Extremism and Democracy

This new series encompasses academic studies within the broad fields of 'extremism' and 'democracy'. These topics have traditionally been considered largely in isolation by academics. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-) relation between extremism and democracy. Works will seek to answer questions such as to what extent extremist groups pose a major threat to democratic parties, or how can democracy respond to extremism without undermining its own democratic credentials?

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Policy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy