This handbook provides comprehensive and critical coverage of the dynamic and complex relationship between democracy and sustainability in contemporary theory, discourse, and practice. Distinguished scholars from different disciplines, such as political science, sociology, philosophy, international relations, look at the present state of this relationship, asking how it has evolved and where it is likely to go in the future. They examine compatibilities and tensions, continuities and changes, as well as challenges and potentials across theoretical, empirical and practical contexts.

This wide-spanning collection brings together multiple established and emerging viewpoints on the debate between democracy and sustainability which have, until now, been fragmented and diffuse. It comprises diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives discussing democracy’s role in, and potential for, coping with environmental issues at the local and global scales. This handbook provides a comprehensive overview of arguments, claims, questions, and insights that are put forward regarding the relationship between democracy and sustainability. In the process, it not only consolidates and condenses, but also broadens and captures the many nuances of the debate.

By showing how theoretical, empirical and practical accounts are interrelated, focusing on diverse problem areas and spheres of action, it serves as a knowledge source for professionals who seek to develop action strategies that do justice to both sustainability and democracy, as well as providing a valuable reference for academic researchers, lecturers and students.

chapter 1|18 pages

General introduction

Democracy and sustainability

part I|47 pages

Origins and developments

chapter 3|16 pages

Sustainable development

Between reformist change and radical transformation

chapter 4|15 pages

Democracy and sustainability

An evolving relationship

part II|83 pages

Theories and concepts

part III|53 pages

Structures and dynamics

chapter 11|10 pages

Escalating side effects

The transformation of modern society through processes of cosmopolitanization, acceleration and increasing global risks

part IV|93 pages

Actors and governance contexts

chapter 15|15 pages

The modern state and sustainability

Challenges to governance

chapter 18|13 pages

Global governance and democracy

Aligning procedural and substantive accounts?

chapter 19|16 pages

Urban sustainability and (post-)democracy

Policies, practices and movements

chapter 20|15 pages

Science and democracy

Partners for sustainability?

part V|85 pages

Issues and policy areas

chapter 24|11 pages

Migration and mobility

Environmental, social and political dimensions

chapter 25|18 pages

Food sustainability and food democracy

Exploring the links

part VI|44 pages

Innovations and experiments

part VII|78 pages

Challenges and perspectives

chapter 30|16 pages

Sustainable development and regime type

What can we learn from a comparison of democracies and autocracies?

chapter 31|14 pages

Democratic governance and environmental sustainability

Engaging the technocratic challenge deliberatively

chapter 32|15 pages

Reframing the Anthropocene

Democratic challenges and openings for sustainability

chapter 34|12 pages

Structural irresponsibility

Politics of an imperfect future