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Managing Leviathan

Managing Leviathan: Environmental Politics and the Administrative State, Second Edition

Robert Paehlke
Douglas Torgerson
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 2
Pages: 310
  • Book Info
    Managing Leviathan
    Book Description:

    "Anyone wishing to explore the cutting edge of environmental policy and management will find this book an invaluable tool." - The Honourable David Anderson, Minister of Environment, Government of Canada, 1999-2004

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0228-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Preface to the First Edition (1990)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)

    • 1 Environmental Administration: Revising the Agenda of Inquiry and Practice
      (pp. 3-10)
      Douglas Torgerson and Robert Paehlke

      Concern has often been voiced about the undemocratic tendencies of the administrative state. However, it has usually been thought that these tendencies must, to a large extent, be tolerated because of the administrative exigencies of an advanced economy and society. Complex problems are deemed to require a concentration of knowledge and power in centralized hierarchies. This alignment of knowledge and power has been considered unavoidable, albeit regrettable from a democratic perspective—an administrative necessity in the emergence of industrial civilization.

      Now, we are told, industrialization faces a range of problems greatly exceeding in complexity those earlier confronted. The advent of...

    • 2 Obsolescent Leviathan: Problems of Order in Administrative Thought
      (pp. 11-24)
      Douglas Torgerson

      Upon ascending to power, a new regime expresses grave concern about the condition of the public treasury. The profligate ways of the past will, it is announced, now have to end. Officials receive their orders and set quietly to work while the populace is left in suspense about the import of the announcement. Later it is learned that—among other things—certain funds no longer will be available to help keep track of a spread of poisons in the earth, air, and water. Consternation and controversy follow among the public, and the decision even gives rise to complaints among officials,...

    • 3 Democracy and Environmentalism: Opening a Door to the Administrative State?
      (pp. 25-44)
      Robert Paehlke

      In the 1970s, the early days of environmentalism, bleak political and economic conclusions were frequently drawn regarding the impact of environmental realities on democratic practice. Some lamented the possible demise of democratic practice on the shoals of coming economic scarcity of “environmental” origin.¹ The suspicion was also voiced that environmentalism itself, whatever its merits, might harbor a threat to democratic institutions.² While these concerns were made in a theoretically cogent manner, the day-to-day practice of environmental politics and policy throughout the 1970s and 1980s had an opposite effect: democratic processes were generally enhanced. Moreover, the environmental movement itself has been...


    • 4 Ecological Reason in Administration: Environmental Impact Assessment and Green Politics
      (pp. 47-58)
      Robert V. Bartlett

      Current administrative institutions are in no way adequate to the challenge presented by the modern environmental predicament. Accepting the administrative state as a permanent feature of the political landscape means accepting that, if environmental problems are to be solved, they must be solved in major part administratively—through more, different, somehow better administration. This is the point of departure for a majority of environmental reformers and policy analysts, who worry little about the fundamental structure of their political world. Yet deeper analysis of the capabilities of bureaucratic organizations and administratively dominated systems, both governmental and non-governmental, leads other theorists to...

    • 5 Environmental Regulation and Risk-Benefit Analysis: From Technical to Deliberative Policy Making
      (pp. 59-80)
      Frank Fischer

      Conflicts between scientific expertise and politics have been part of environmental struggles from their beginning in the late 1960s. Not only are science and technology closely associated with the major causes of environmental degradation, but environmental science has also played a primary role in both detecting environmental problems and searching for workable solutions. Although the environmental movement began with the use of traditional political tactics (from street protests to lobbying) to organize for protection against the risk technologies, nuclear power being the most important case in point, the focus on risk has tended to shift the terms of political struggle....

    • 6 Designs for Environmental Discourse Revisited: A Greener Administrative State?
      (pp. 81-96)
      John S. Dryzek

      The administrative state is not what it used to be, in environmental affairs no less than elsewhere. There is still plenty of administration around, even if we think of it in classic Weberian terms: hierarchical and pyramid-shaped, with a clear division of labor between sub-units in the hierarchy. However, many governments have been affected by reform waves as well as by the press of structural forces that complicate the picture by introducing other forms of collective choice into administration. One popular set of reforms at least in the Anglo-American liberal democracies is the marketization inspired by market liberalism and its...

    • 7 The Ambivalence of Discourse: Beyond the Administrative Mind?
      (pp. 97-122)
      Douglas Torgerson

      To see the environment as an administrative problem means cutting the environment down to size and making it manageable. However, this approach quickly runs into trouble, and conventional administration betrays distinct inadequacies in grappling with the environment. These shortcomings suggest the need for new techniques and processes that will deal more sensitively and comprehensively with environmental complexities. This essay treats the limitations of conventional approaches in terms of a critique of theadministrative mind—an image that, although often only implicit, pervades the discourse of the administrative world and constrains the handling of environmental problems. At least to the extent...


    • 8 Class, Place, and Citizenship: The Changing Dynamics of Environmental Protection
      (pp. 125-144)
      Ted Schrecker

      In the early 1990s, environmental protection seemed well established as a political concern. In 1989,Timemagazine had departed from its usual focus on individual newsmakers by featuring endangered Earth as the Planet of the Year (how many competitors were there?).¹ In Canada, a Conservative environment minister had given a speech in which he described pollution as “the most serious white-collar crime in Canada.”² The minister’s views may not have been shared by his Cabinet colleagues (or even his constituents, since he lost his seat in the next election), but they were at least expressible within the political mainstream. In...

    • 9 We Just Don’t Know: Lessons about Complexity and Uncertainty in Canadian Environmental Politics
      (pp. 145-170)
      Robert B. Gibson

      Uncertainty is inconvenient in an administrative state. For administrative purposes the world should be divisible into tidy categories, and what goes on in those categories should be understood by appropriate experts. Or, at the least, it should be open to competent inquiry leading to adequate understanding. Some complexities might be involved and sophisticated methodologies might be required for inquiry and analysis. But, in the end, the world should permit the appropriate experts, armed with the suitable methodologies, to define the problems correctly, to identify the appropriate response options, and to reach the rational conclusions.

      Perhaps no informed person today believes...

    • 10 Environmental Politics and Policy Professionalism: Agenda Setting, Problem Definition, and Epistemology
      (pp. 171-190)
      Douglas Torgerson

      Environmentalism has emerged as a dissident social movement, throwing into question comfortable assumptions about progress that have sustained the pattern of development characteristic of the advanced industrial order. Through the combination of its reformist as well as radical tendencies, environmental politics has made a mark on the contemporary political landscape, affecting not only the terms of public discourse, but also key features of the policy process. In a pattern that may hold for other social movements as well, environmentalism has worked an influence on the world of policy professionalism, shaping the focus of attention in three related, though distinguishable, ways:...

    • 11 Depoliticizing Environmental Politics: Sustainable Development in Norway
      (pp. 191-208)
      Ingerid S. Straume

      Environmental politics in Norway has undergone several significant discursive shifts over the past decades.¹ The field of environmentalism has expanded to include more participants and a wider range of issues while, at the same time, the definition of central problems has been the subject of much dispute and negotiation. Environmentalism itself has been transformed from being a special interest of the few—a feature of group membership—to becoming a naturalized, uncontested aspect of organized social life. Nowadays, actors from all spheres of society are involved in some kind of environmentalist agenda. In turn, the environmentalist agenda has become a...

    • 12 Democratic Deliberation and Environmental Policy: Opportunities and Barriers in Britain
      (pp. 209-234)
      Graham Smith

      Deliberative democracy has emerged as one of the most serious and influential theoretical challenges to conventional liberal democracy. Although vigorous debate continues about the precise meaning of deliberative democracy, its main institutional principle is clear: greater participation by citizens in debates about public problems increases the democratic legitimacy of decision-making processes. The institutionalization of inclusive and unconstrained democratic dialogue among free and equal citizens is widely viewed as the most defensible method of achieving legitimacy in collective decision making and in sustaining forms of political authority.² The growing interest in deliberative democracy from within green political theory adds a further...

    • 13 Outside the State: Australian Green Politics and the Public Inquiry into Uranium
      (pp. 235-256)
      Timothy Doyle

      Gone are the days of progressive green policy making in Australia. After being at the vanguard of environmental policy making during the 1970s, Australian environmentalists are experiencing difficult times at the start of the millennium. The federal government is run by a conservative coalition (comprising the Liberal and National parties) with very strong ties to the corporate sector, most specifically to powerful extractive industries, such as mining and forestry.¹ The state has now largely abandoned a commitment to independent science. Increasingly, Australia is regarded in international circles as an environmental pariah, with its anti-environmentalist stance on climate change at the...

    • 14 Participation and Agency: Hybrid Identities in the European Quest for Sustainable Development
      (pp. 257-270)
      Andrew Jamison

      In the course of the 1990s, the ideas and practices of environmentalism lost whatever politically mobilizing force they might earlier have had, and largely came to resemble what Herbert Marcuse, in his classic text of the 1960s, termed the stuff of total administration. The redefinition of environmental politics as an ambiguous quest for sustainable development can be seen as a form of reification, bringing environmental politics under the control of the established order and its administrative apparatus and making environmental problems amenable to the instrumental procedures of technological rationality. What had seemed for many of us in the 1970s to...

    • 15 Responses to Environmental Threats in an Age of Globalization
      (pp. 271-288)
      Jennifer Clapp

      As globalization continues apace, environmental problems have become increasingly complex, in some cases threatening the sustainability of human livelihoods in both rich and poor countries. Political responses to these threats have not to date been sufficient. The global political system, structured around sovereign states, forces us to rely on inter-state cooperation to address those environmental problems that transcend borders. But the track record over the past 30 years has shown that states, even working together, have proven weak in the face of global environmental threats. Over this same period, it has become increasingly clear that the emergence of many of...

    • 16 Green Governance and the Green State: Capacity Building as a Political Project
      (pp. 289-310)
      Peter Christoff

      Optimism about the state has diminished as policy makers, activists, and academics have responded to what some have termed state failure—the state’s apparently endemic inability to deal with complex problems and deliver intended outcomes. This fading optimism is evident in the environmental domain where, despite some thirty years of institutional innovation, there is a feeling that the pace of reform has stalled, early gains in environmental quality are being eroded, and critical problems such as climate change are being addressed ineffectively. The overall result has been a reassessment of the ability of the state to deliver positive social and...


    • 17 Environmental Politics and the Administrative State
      (pp. 313-326)
      Robert Paehlke and Douglas Torgerson

      In the context of advancing industrialization, the fiction of apolitical administration readily appears plausible. Made in the image of the machine, the administrative apparatus becomes both an achievement and an instrument of rationalization—of technological progress in an increasingly mechanized universe. Indeed, Thorstein Veblen went so far as to claim, “mechanical technology is impersonal and dispassionate, and its end is very simply to serve human needs, without fear or favor or respect of persons, prerogatives, or politics.”¹ In this context, bureaucratic organization in both the public and private sectors emerges as a mechanism especially well suited to promoting a natural...

  11. Index
    (pp. 327-352)