Research vision

The Environmental Policy chair group (ENP) develops innovative ways of analysing and understanding social and political transformations of the environment. Core to this mission is the analysis of how and to what extent environmental considerations become incorporated into and change modernisation and globalisation processes, and the design of environmental governance arrangements that extend across multiple levels and spatial scales.

The core objectives of the research programme are threefold:

  1. Analyse and understand transformations in local, national and global environmental governance arrangements, against the background of a rapidly changing cultural, political and economic global order;
  2. Analyse how individuals, groups and organisations deal with and respond to the environmental and health risks and uncertainties that emerge as side effects of modernisation/globalisation.
  3. Contribute to the institutionalisation of fair and equitable environmental and sustainability standards, requirements and criteria in (international) processes, networks and practices of production, consumption and governance.

ENP research focuses on the theoretical development for understanding and critically analysing social and political transformations of the environment. The theoretical focus of the group is organised into two clear lines of inquiry. First, an eco-modernisation perspective to environmental change, drawing on a combination of macro-sociological theories of global risk and network society, micro-sociological perspectives focused on social practices, and institutional perspectives of political modernisation and transition theory. Second, critical social science perspectives drawing on international political economy, political ecology, and global production chains and networks. Bringing these two perspectives together will enable the group to explore the tension between the social innovations (e.g. policy instruments and governance arrangements), and social consequences (e.g. inequality, control and exploitation) inherent in environmental change processes.