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Governing towards sustainability: environmental governance and policy change in Swedish forestry and transport
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Forskarskolan Urbana Studier)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5322-4305
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Faced with environmental problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss, the dominant political response has been sustainable development, balancing environmental protection against economic prosperity and social justice. While political action is increasingly being called for, the role and capacity of the state is questioned – as captured neatly in the story from government to governance that implies a relocation of authority and power between policy levels and in public-private relations, as well as a radical restructuring within public administration. Taking its conceptual point of departure in theories of sustainable development, govern­ance, and policy change, this thesis assesses, explains, and theorises about recent developments of environmental governing within Swedish forestry and transport, two areas with high environmental impact and that involve strong eco­nomic val­ues and interests. The findings are presented in four articles that have all been published in leading academic journals. The thesis concludes that public policy has changed within both policy areas as environmental objectives and new modes of governing have been adopted – a development that can be characterised as governing towards sustainability. However, the storyline from government to governance is too simple to capture these changes. The state remains important in several ways (actor, arena, institutional structure, form of authority) and influ­ences society through a variety of modes of governing. Thus, governance and government remain relevant. To explain policy change we need to recognise mul­tiple barriers to and enablers of change as well as having a contextual under­standing of the policy area in focus. The thesis concludes by arguing that sustain­able development needs to be politicised in terms of visible political action and open political contestation between differing visions of a sustainable society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet , 2010. , 104 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Political Science, ISSN 1650-1632 ; 27
Keyword [en]
governance, government, modes of governing, public policy, policy change, sustainable development, environmental politics, Swedish forestry, forest policy, Swedish transport, transport policy, politicisation, governing towards sustainability
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Social Sciences
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-9030ISBN: 978-91-7668-712-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-9030DiVA: diva2:285179
Public defence
2010-02-05, Hörsal L2, Långhuset, Örebro universitet, Örebro, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-01-12 Created: 2010-01-07 Last updated: 2016-08-10Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Contextualising the advocacy coalition framework: theorising change in Swedish forest policy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contextualising the advocacy coalition framework: theorising change in Swedish forest policy
2008 (English)In: Environmental Politics, ISSN 0964-4016, E-ISSN 1743-8934, Vol. 17, no 5, 730-748 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) is assessed and elaborated by applying it to the Swedish forestry policy subsystem, a dynamic subsystem in which environmental interests have challenged a dominating production coalition. Forest policy has changed as new ecological values and modes of governing have been introduced through an incremental, pragmatic learning process mediated by a pre-established partnership culture. This policy change is not satisfactorily explained by conventional ACF mechanisms (shocks and brokered learning). Policy change may be better understood if the ACF is nuanced and contextualised by recognising that the learning process has evolved over a long time within the ideological-discursive context of ecological modernisation, and that the forest sector has been under constant pressure due to its strong dependence on world markets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2008
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3321 (URN)10.1080/09644010802421471 (DOI)000260572000003 ()2-s2.0-55949085792 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2008-12-01 Created: 2008-12-01 Last updated: 2015-03-04Bibliographically approved
2. Greening transport: explaining urban transport policy change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Greening transport: explaining urban transport policy change
2009 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, ISSN 1523-908X, E-ISSN 1522-7200, Vol. 11, no 3, 243-261 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Transport policy has proven highly resistant to change despite growing environmental problems. However, in the Swedish city of Örebro, objectives and policy measures in support of ecological sustainability have successfully been introduced in urban transport policies adopted by the local government. This article explains how this 'greening' became possible. Three variables of change proved highly important to understand policy change in this case: (i) new policy ideas of sustainable transport, (ii) reorganization of the local administration and (iii) the pressure of green policy entrepreneurs. A common denominator behind all these changes was the reformation of urban transport into a political issue through discursive changes and an active involvement by elected politicians, that is, politicization. The continuing importance of politics in contemporary policy processes as complex as transport is an important lesson from this case, that is, politics still matters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2009
Keyword
Sustainable transport, policy change, governance, environmental governing, urban planning, politicization
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-7725 (URN)10.1080/15239080903056417 (DOI)000270423700006 ()2-s2.0-70349970736 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2009-08-25 Created: 2009-08-25 Last updated: 2017-03-15Bibliographically approved
3. Governing without government?: the private governance of forest certification in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governing without government?: the private governance of forest certification in Sweden
2009 (English)In: Public Administration, ISSN 0033-3298, E-ISSN 1467-9299, Vol. 87, no 2, 312-326 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The role and capacity of the state are changing. Some researchers argue that the state is transforming, strategically adapting to new circumstances, while others see a development of governing arrangements that are autonomous from the state, governing ‘without’ government. This article assesses the governing without government thesis through the case of forest certification introduced in Sweden in the late 1990s. This is a case of private governance, the governing capacity of which is based on voluntary self-regulation rather than government authority, seemingly a prime example of governing without government. The results show that government nonetheless is involved with forest certification through governance-oriented modes of governing: enabling and influencing the arrangements. Thus, what appeared to be a prime example of governing ‘without’ government is better understood as governing ‘with’ government.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-7724 (URN)10.1111/j.1467-9299.2009.01750.x (DOI)000266339800009 ()2-s2.0-66349086102 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2009-08-25 Created: 2009-08-25 Last updated: 2017-03-15Bibliographically approved
4. From government to governance?: a comparison of environmental governing in Swedish forestry and transport
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From government to governance?: a comparison of environmental governing in Swedish forestry and transport
2009 (English)In: Governance. An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, ISSN 0952-1895, E-ISSN 1468-0491, Vol. 22, no 4, 647-672 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

From government to governance is a grand story line about the changing role of the state, which has had a great impact upon researchers and practitioners. This article is an empirical assessment of this story line. Three critical dimensions are elaborated into indicators of government and governance: governing styles and instruments, public–private relationships, and policy levels. These indicators are used to assess the role of the state in environmental governing using Swedish forestry and transport as examples. The results show that the story line is too simple; the role of the state is not changing in a unidirectional way. Instead, the comparison shows that environmental governing within the two policy areas is characterized by both government and governance modes of governing, thus questioning the usefulness of the story line as a guideline when framing empirical studies or political decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2009
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8046 (URN)10.1111/j.1468-0491.2009.01457.x (DOI)000270151200006 ()2-s2.0-70349423543 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2009-10-01 Created: 2009-10-01 Last updated: 2017-02-20Bibliographically approved

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