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Environmental Values

Ecological Democracy, Just Transitions and a Political Ecology of Design

Damian F. White

Environmental Values 28 (2019): 31-53. doi: 10.3197/096327119X15445433913569

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This article takes stock of the project of ecological democracy, a project that has been central to debates in Environmental Values since the late 1990s. Whilst we can identify quite distinct articulations of eco-democratic thinking emerging out of the fields of green political theory, postcolonial/feminist political ecology and science studies/radical geography, it is argued that these discussions have reached something of an impasse of late following the rise of climate scepticism, authoritarian populisms and technocratic eco-modernisms. Resurgent eco-authoritarian impulses and the hankering for a 'green leviathan', a climate Lenin or a 'dictatorship of the sustainment' to resolve our climate crisis make it more important than ever to affirm the need for just, rapid and democratic post-carbon transitions. The article goes on to outline how emerging discussions in radical design studies focused on redirective practice in conjunction with a revived eco-socialist focus on labour-focused political ecologies might open up different possibilities for a materialist re-grounding of ecodemocratic discussions. It is suggested that a political ecology of design embedded in public institutions, the workplace and civil society could possibleyreground a more substantive vision of ecological democracy but also allow us to think about the forms of creative labour that could drive the just transition.


Eco-democracy, just transition, design, hybridity, eco-socialism, ecomodernism

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Representing Global Public Concern: A Critical Analysis of the Danish Participatory Experiment on Climate Change. Gwendolyn Blue

Should Ecological Citizenship Advocates Praise the Green State?. Carme Melo-Escrihuela

Rejecting Eco-Authoritarianism, Again. Dan Coby Shahar

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Reconciling Ecological and Democratic Values: Recent Perspectives on Ecological Democracy. David Schlosberg, Karin Bäckstrand and Jonathan Pickering

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