The Study of Global Environmental Politics: Strategies for Research and Learning

Juliann E. Allison, Thomas Hickmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Contemporary research and teaching on global environmental politics (GEP) draw upon many approaches to understanding the ways in which states and societies respond to transboundary environmental problems (see Chapter 2). Approaches that emphasize the state (see Chapter 7) and international organizations (see Chapter 8) derive in a straightforward way from scholarly work in international relations (IR), with a marked focus on domestic and international institutions and on traditional determinants of power and sources of authority as key to understanding states’ interests and actions. Alternatively, approaches that adopt a philosophically critical orientation toward IR are more inherently interdisciplinary, and build on theoretical frameworks developed in economics and sociology as well as in the humanities. The latter work frequently examines global environmental politics from the “bottom up,” and takes seriously the notion that subnational and non-state actors, transnational networks of activist organizations as well as individuals are essential to resolving the world’s pressing sustainability challenges (see Chapter 14). This chapter describes an analytical framework informed by IR scholarship for approaching research and teaching in the GEP subfield. The framework may be adapted for use with any substantive area of interest, as well as used to develop undergraduate and graduate coursework in GEP. Elaboration of the framework itself is followed by its application to a discussion of research in GEP that both captures long-standing trends and underscores new avenues of inquiry. The section on teaching GEP that follows includes suggestions for the adoption of pedagogies – specifically fieldwork and other outdoor experiences, contemplative practices, (online) games and role-plays – that are particularly well suited to the field of GEP.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Global Environmental Politics
EditorsPaul Harris
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003008873
ISBN (Print)9781032145808
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Pedagogy
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


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