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Sweden and ecological governance

Sweden and ecological governance: Straddling the fence

Lennart J. Lundqvist
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Sweden and ecological governance
    Book Description:

    Sweden is seen as a forerunner in environmental and ecological policy. This book examines policies and strategies for ecologically rational governance, and uses the Swedish case study to ask if it is possible to move from a traditional environmental policy to a broad, integrated pursuit of sustainable development, as illustrated through the ‘Sustainable Sweden’ programme. The study begins by looking at the spatial dimensions of ecological governance, and goes on to consider the integration and effectiveness of sustainable development policies. It analyses the tension between democracy and sustainable development, which has a broader relevance beyond the Swedish model, to other nation states as well as the European Union as a whole.

    eISBN: 978-1-84779-094-1
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of tables
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. 1 Where the grass is greener: criteria for ecologically rational governance
    (pp. 1-24)

    The (re)discovery of the tragedy of the commons raised a normative question that has haunted students and practitioners of politics ever since: ‘How are we to govern ourselves so as to value democracy and individual autonomy and still retain the integrity of the commons?’The question implies that the latter – interpreted as ecological sustainability – may prove a formidable challenge to presently existing democratic systems of governance.

    Practical political answers addressing the full spectrum of sustainable development, and in particular its ecological aspects, are now emerging. Sweden provides an interesting case of development from environmental policy towards ecological governance. In his...

  6. 2 ‘Nested enterprises’? Spatial dimensions of ecological governance
    (pp. 25-53)

    Space is of central concern to rational ecological governance. Environmental problems and resource management issues cross the man-made scales of local, regional or national governments. The question thus becomes how ‘to negotiate a better fit’ in responding to very complex ecological challenges (Pritchard Jr. et al. 1998: 30 f.). Elinor Ostrom’s answer in her now classicGoverning the Commonsis twofold. The underlying principle in her model of stable, ecosystem-based governance is one of congruence between a natural ecosystem and the unit of governance for that system. Regimes for the use and management of natural resources must thus haveclearly...

  7. 3 Up or down with the ecology cycle? Strategies for temporally rational ecological governance
    (pp. 54-86)

    From the early nineteenth century onwards, the dominant political view of time was one of continuous ‘progress’ with the state at the centre of change (Ekengren 1998: 30). Thislinearconception of time is, however, just one possible view. Political time can also be seen as (series of) distincteventsor as connectedpointsthat have special meaning or importance. One can furthermore view political time ascyclical, with events recurring in a predictable fashion. The budgetary process is a prime example. Governments set strict timetables that bind the procedure step by step, and the organisation level by level, in...

  8. 4 The commons of governing: the knowledge base of ecological governance
    (pp. 87-116)

    Yesterday’s environmental problems were rather tangible in spatial and temporal terms. Often easily detectable causes and effects made them relatively simple to manage. The up-stream polluter could be forced to compensate the down-stream victim. However, the causes and effects of modern environmental problems are increasingly difficult to delimit in time and space. Catchment eutrophication, long-range transport of air pollution, thinning of the ozone layer, and global warming are examples of this growing diffuseness of environmental problems. Resource use decisions are increasingly made under conditions of uncertainty. There is thus a growing need to ground rational ecological governance in scientific knowledge...

  9. 5 Governing in common – integration and effectiveness in ecological governance
    (pp. 117-147)

    The first decades of environmental policy in Sweden were characterised by an amalgamation of different governmental units dealing with aspects of the environmental issue into a recognisablesectoralpolicy domain. This was how SEPA came to be a specialised agency, whose mission was to prevent or mitigate the effects on the environment of different socio-economic activities. Top priorities were to clean up and prevent pollution, and help in creating a system of constraints against undue exploitation of valuable natural environments. The guiding normative principle was one of ‘balancing interests’; the environment was seen as one societal interest that should be...

  10. 6 Democracy and ecological governance – a balancing act
    (pp. 148-180)

    As pointed out in Chapter 1, this book builds on the normative argument that ecologically rational governance must strive for sustainabilitywithinthe limits set by democracy and individual autonomy. The relationship among these values is quite complex. On the one hand, effective and in the longer term successful ecological governance relies on quite radical changes in present values and behaviour in the direction of substantial restrictions on individual autonomy of choice. This could be used as an argument for constraints on democratic participation in order to prevent political conflicts and ease the introduction and implementation of radical measures (see...

  11. 7 Where the buck stops: governmental power and authority in democratic ecological governance
    (pp. 181-200)

    The preceding chapters analysed what Sweden has done, and how far that country has come, in creating structures and processes of governance for the sustainability of the commons and the autonomy of the individual within the limits of democracy. One conclusion is that while the logic of ecological rationality may seem attractive in terms of sustainability and autonomy when laid out as an ideal type, its practical implementation will most certainly involve conflicts and compromises on both accounts. Compared to historic patterns of resource management and behaviour, ecological governance for sustainability implies ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in terms of individual autonomy...

  12. 8 Straddling the fence: on the possibility of sustainability and democracy in advanced industrial nations
    (pp. 201-220)

    At the heart of this study of Sweden and its efforts to create structures and processes for ecologically rational governance has been the political dilemma posed by sustainable development. Taking as my point of departure the normative question of ‘How are we to govern ourselves so as to value democracy and individual autonomy and still retain the integrity of the commons?’ and by measuring the empirical evidence of Sweden’s ecological reforms against several criteria for rationally ecological governance, I have sought to answer the following question:To what extent do policy measures taken in Sweden to achieve ecologically sustainable development...

  13. References
    (pp. 221-239)
  14. Index
    (pp. 240-246)