The Global Environment

Authored by: Hannah Hughes

Routledge Handbook of International Political Sociology

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415732253
eBook ISBN: 9781315446486
Adobe ISBN: 9781315446479


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There have been interesting theoretical developments in the study of international environmental problems over the past two decades, as scholars grapple to deal with the complexities and growing range of actors constituting the political realms of issues like climate change, biodiversity loss and other forms of environmental degradation (Morin and Orsini 2013). Most recently, Global Environmental Politics (GEP) has followed an emerging trend within critical International Relations (IR) that refocuses scholarly attention on methods and the methodological approaches used to understand, generate knowledge and represent international political life (O’Neil et al. 2013). This chapter aims to review some of the key theoretical and methodological approaches and recent innovations within the field of GEP, and indicate how a turn to the sociology of international environmental relations, in particular the sociological approach of Pierre Bourdieu, may offer important tools for further unpacking and illuminating the power relations imbued in all international political activities directed at cleaning the planet. This is not only important for providing GEP scholars with critical tools to deconstruct the politics of global environmental degradation, but also because this field offers a key site for understanding patterns of social domination structuring contemporary international political order.

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