chapter  1
22 Pages

Politics and environmental studies

Both environmental studies and the discipline of politics can be conceived of, and practised, in quite different ways. For example, environmental studies can be treated as a sub-discipline of natural science and bring to bear that whole approach to understanding particular problems and to evaluating alternative solutions. That is not the only approach. It is equally possible to understand environmental studies as essentially an interdisciplinary enterprise bringing together knowledge and expertise from a whole range of scientific and social science disciplines. The study of politics is capable of equally varied conceptions, ranging from its basic focus through to questions of method and means of evaluation. This chapter starts with a consideration of the delineation of the two fields of environmental studies and politics to establish what is at the core for the comparative study of environmental politics. On that basis some of the key, even if contested, concepts of politics are outlined along with sketches of alternative methodologies and assumptions about the workings of the different political processes found across the world today.