Scientisation vs. Civic Expertise in Environmental Governance. Ecofeminist, Ecomodernist and Postmodernist Responses

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his article examines three critical perspectives in green political theory arguing that environmental governance is emerging as an increasingly scientised and technocratic domain. These are contrasted with work under the banner of 'civic expertise' proposing increased citizen deliberation and participation in the scientific realm to reverse the technocratic features of environmental management. Eco-feminism links the rise of technocratic science to an overall critique of modernity, rationality and patriarchy. Eco-modernism aims at re-configuring scientific rationality in terms of reflexive modernisation, and a stronger participatory dimension of civil society. In the postmodern green critique, the ascendancy of regulatory science marks the influence of biopower or green governmentality. Civic expertise is advanced as a middle ground between these contested appraisals of science in modern societies. This is underpinned by a post-positivist account of scientific knowledge and promotes a reform of the scientific endeavour toward enhanced transparency, participation and democratisation.


  • Karin Bäckstrand
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-714
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch