Environmental Reform in the Information Age: The Contours of Informational Governance / Edition 1

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As the information revolution continues to accelerate, the environment remains high on public and political agendas around the world. These two topics are rarely connected, but information - its collection, processing, accessibility and verification - is crucial in dealing with environmental challenges such as climate change, unsustainable consumption, biodiversity conservation, and waste management. The information society (encompassing entities such as the Internet, satellites, interactive television and surveillance cameras) changes the conditions and resources that are involved in environmental governance: old modes and concepts are increasingly being replaced by new, informational ones. Arthur P.J. Mol explores how the information revolution is changing the way we deal with environmental issues; to what extent and where these transformations have (and have not) taken place; and what the consequences are for democracy and power relations. This book will appeal to scholars and students of environmental studies and politics, political sociology, geography and communications studies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521888127
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur P. J. Mol is Chair and Professor in Environmental Policy in the Department of Social Sciences at Wageningen University. He is the author of Globalization and Environmental Reform: The Ecological Modernization of the Global Economy (2001) and The Refinement of Production: Ecological Modernization Theory and the Chemical Industry (1995).

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Table of Contents

Tables, figures and boxes     xiii
Preface     xv
Introduction: new frontiers of environmental governance     1
The dawn of a new era     1
Information explosions     4
Conventional interpretations of environmental information     7
The Information Society and the missing environment     10
Environmental assessments of the information revolution     12
Shifting (environmental) governance     16
Information-poor environments     21
Design and outline     24
From Information Society to Information Age     29
The transformation of modern society     29
The Information Society thesis     31
The Information Age     42
Continuities between Information Society and Information Age     52
Conclusion     53
Social theories of environmental reform     55
From environmental crises to environmental reform     55
First-generation theories: policies and protests     57
Second-generation theories: ecological modernisation     60
Third-generation theories: networks and flows     68
Conclusion: information flows and environmental reform     77
Informationalgovernance     80
Introduction     80
Informational governance and the environment     82
What about ecological modernisation?     91
Informational politics and power     95
Governance under radical uncertainty     97
State authority and postsovereignty     99
Global inequalities in informational governance     101
Conclusion     102
Monitoring, surveillance and empowerment     107
Conventional environmental monitoring     107
Innovations in monitoring arrangements     110
Who monitors who?     113
Questions of surveillance and countersurveillance     116
Citizen-consumer empowerment     122
Conclusion     131
Environmental state and information politics     132
Introduction     132
Information politics as environmental regulation     133
E[superscript 2]-governance     142
The search for information quality     145
Participation, trust and transparency     150
Regressive information politics?     153
Conclusion: continuities and discontinuities     159
Greening the networked economy      162
Environment in a global economy     162
Informational economy     163
In-company environmental management and public accountability     167
Private governance in economic networks     173
Monopolies, distortion and public relations     184
Conclusion: stateless governance through information?     187
Environmental activism and advocacy     189
A natural alliance in transition     189
Digitalising environmental NGOs     193
Transnational spaces for environmental movements     199
New strategies, new alliances     205
Legitimatory capital at risk     207
Conclusion     210
Media monopolies, digital democracy, cultural clashes     212
A New World Information and Communication Order?     212
Mediated environment     214
Media and mediated information     217
The Fourth Estate in transition     220
Environmental politics and the media     228
Conclusion: media as governance, governance of the media     232
Information-poor environments: Asian tigers     234
China and Vietnam as information peripheries     234
State monitoring: monopoly, reliability and capacity      238
Transitional state-market relations     251
Transitional democracy? Civil society, public space and media control     257
Conclusion: informational governance in status nascendi     270
Balancing informational perspectives     275
Introduction     275
Informational governance: what is it?     277
Continuities and discontinuities     279
Variations: regions, networks and fluids     283
Assessing informational governance: environment and democracy     285
New governance modes, new research agendas     289
References     293
Index     329
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