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Research Report

Theories and Methods for the Study of Multilevel Environmental Governance

Moeko Saito-Jensen
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Pages: 36
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)

    The CIFOR project “multilevel governance and REDD+” has two central goals “1) to identify options for the design of governance institutions and organizations for the development of a just and transparent benefit sharing systems; and 2) to improve the design of multiple level institutions and processes to overcome economic and policy barriers to REDD+ implementation and other low carbon land use options”. In line with these goals, the objective of this review is to provide input for a “theoretically grounded framework for the study of multi level governance and REDD+ through the review of theory and methods of direct relevance...

  2. (pp. 2-6)

    The term multilevel governance (MLG) was developed by the political scientist Gary Marks (1993). The concept aimed in particular to capture and understand political processes related to the emergence of supranational institutions such as the European Union and to facilitate analysis of decentralized decision-making processes, in which sub-national level governments and civil society have come to have increasing influence. As the word, “multilevel” suggests, the concept of MLG comprises numerous state and non-state actors located at different levels, such as the local (sub-national), the national and the global (supranational). The challenge pinpointed by MLG theorists is that these diverse levels...

  3. (pp. 7-11)

    As noted, the concept of multilevel governance was originally developed specifically to analyze multi-dimensional governance within the EU. Among other things, criticisms of MLG highlight the quite different political and social contexts of governance in developing countries. These differences have to do with issues that include forms of government (which may not be democratic), the level of poverty and amount of resources available for governing, and the sophistication of infrastructure, administrative systems and, thus, capacities for governance. These are all pertinent issues to consider in the context of REDD+ governance.

    Additionally, criticisms pointed to the formalist epistemology of MLG theory....

  4. (pp. 12-15)

    In this section, I focus on a body of literature that has centered on the analysis on the politics of development and government.10 Because there is a vast body of literature on this topic, the material presented here is necessarily very selective. Hence, I focus in particular on four figures, namely, James Scott, James Ferguson, Tania Li and Arun Agrawal. The title of this section, governmentality and environmentality, speaks to the influence of the thinking of Michel Foucault (2008) on most of the work covered here. Governmentality was Foucault’s analytical term for the emergence of new techniques and strategies for...

  5. (pp. 16-18)

    In the final section of the review, I survey an approach to governance and society that focuses on their mutual constitution or co-production. This approach has been defined in particular by political scientist and science and technology studies scholar Sheila Jasanoff based at Harvard University (Jasanoff 2004). In a certain sense, the co-production approach takes the literature review full circle. On the one hand, this approach, while it has learned from the governmentality and environmentality studies discussed above, offers a different and distinct perspective on the relations between government and society. On the other hand, its very name co-production, sometimes...