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Ecological Democracy, Just Transitions and a Political Ecology of Design

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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.
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Keywords: Eco-democracy; design; eco-socialism; ecomodernism; hybridity; just transition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2019) of 2.158. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.047.
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