Green Leviathan, Ecological Insurance Agency, or Capitalism’s Agent? Revisiting the Ecological State in the Anthropocene
Over the second half of the twentieth century the environment emerged as a key focus of state activity. While there is much recent scholarship dealing with the internationalization of environmental protection, we still know relatively little about national ‘ecological states’ as important sites for environmental politics and policy-making. This workshop seeks to contribute to the study of environmental politics and to state theory in three ways. First, there is an explicit ambition ‘to bring the state back in’ to research on environmental politics and policy. Second, there is an ambition to rediscover a comparative perspective on environmental politics and state theory. Third, there is an intention to encourage deeper reflection within the political research community about the evolution of contemporary states once environmental issues become central -- especially in relation to interactions among core state imperatives and functions.
Key themes the workshop will address include: historical patterns in the development of environmental states and the driving forces behind their evolution; differences and similarities in configurations of governance arrangements; structural features that enable and constrain the activities of ecological states; interactions among major state concerns, especially economic management and welfare reform; assessing the prospects for the ecological state in addressing processes of global environmental change; and the normative foundations of the ecological state.
The workshop hopes to initiate a research agenda on the ecological state that might, in the long term, parallel the achievements of established research programs into the state, such as welfare state regimes, varieties of capitalism, and democratization.