Environment and Politics by Timothy Doyle, Doug McEachern

By Timothy Doyle, Doug McEachern

Concise creation to the examine of environmental politics, explaining the main ideas, conflicts, political structures and the practices of policy-making. a various diversity of environmental difficulties and coverage strategies are tested.

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Following the classic sociological argument of Max Weber about the provenance of power (Weber 1978: 53), Dahl and Polsby believe they can detect its presence when the wishes of one person or group can prevail over the wishes of others. In their approach the best situations for the study of power are those involving observable conflict between groups seeking to influence government policy making. Group A wants one thing, Group B another and the government acts. The extent to which A and B get what they want indicates both the presence of power and the pattern of its distribution between them.

It is sometimes assumed that politics takes place in a distinct public sphere and that business is confined to the economy; but on questions of the environment the business of the marketplace has a strong political dimension. Particular firms and various business associations can be active in defending themselves against various environmental campaigns and the threat of environmental regulation. At times, business has been the key player in trying to define an acceptable approach to the making of policy on environmental questions.

More than that it requires an understanding of the different arguments about how the role of power in politics can be assessed. This chapter has outlined the key concepts and alternative arguments needed to produce an effective interpretation of environmental politics either in a single country or in a number of countries. The comparative approach always strengthens our ability to be precise about the factors that condition the outcome of environmental conflict and policy. The chapter has concentrated on the institutional, structural and ‘permissive’ factors that surround environmental activism.

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