The Politics of Unsustainability

The Politics of Unsustainability : Eco-Politics in the Post-Ecologist Era

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Two decades after its launch by the UN Brundtland Commission, the paradigm of sustainability seems to have reached its limits. Whilst the concept figures more prominently in public debate and policy making than ever before, the ecological footprint of advanced liberal consumer societies continues to grow, and the forceful economic development of countries such as China and India reinforces concerns that the world is moving further away from, rather than closer towards the ideal of sustainability. Given the proven failure of ecological modernisation strategies to secure sustainability, the traditional question "How may our established lifestyles and socio-economic practices be made more sustainable?" needs to be supplemented by a second, equally important, question: "How do advanced modern consumer democracies try and manage to sustain what is known to be unsustainable?" Put differently, traditional research into the politics of sustainability needs to be supplemented by a new line of research into the politics of unsustainability. Exploring the recent transformation of eco-political discourses and a variety of ways in which the unfolding paradox of sustaining the unsustainable is being managed, the present volume pioneers this new research agenda.

This book was previously published as a special issue of Environmental Politics.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 207 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 12.7mm | 317.51g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 113888233X
  • 9781138882331

Table of contents

1. Eco-Politics Beyond the Paradigm of Sustainability: A Conceptual Framework and Research Agenda 2. Changing Public Discourse on the Environment: Danish Media Coverage of the Rio and Johannesburg UN Summits 3. Participation and Sustainable Development: The Post-Ecologist Transformation of Citizen Involvement in Denmark 4. Sustaining the Unsustainable: Symbolic Politics and the Politics of Simulation 5. Symbolic Environmental Legislation and Societal Self-Deception 6. Sustainable Development as Symbolic Commitment: Declaratory Politics and the Seductive Appeal of Ecological Modernisation in the European Union 7. Dissolving the Nation: Self-Deception and Symbiotic Inversion in the GM Debate 8. The Post-Ecologist Condition: Irony as Symptom and Cure 9. In Defence of Civilisation: Terrorism and Environmental Politics in the 21st Century
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About Ian Welsh

Ingolfur Bluhdorn is Reader in Politics and Political Sociology at the University of Bath, UK. His work connects aspects of political sociology, social theory, eco-political theory and environmental sociology. He has published widely on social movements, Green Parties and processes of societal modernisation.

Ian Welsh is Reader in Sociology in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences. He has worked on the interface between science, environment and social movements. His most recent work addresses the social and political implications of complexity theory.
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