Environmental Governance. Experience, Knowledge and Expectations since 1945

The workshop "Environmental Governance. Experience, Knowledge and Expectations since 1945" will take place on 16th and 17th September 2021. It is organised by SPP-scholars Laura Kaiser, Thomas Lettang and Rüdiger Graf (all ZZF Potsdam) and Nils Güttler (ETH Zürch). 

For more information, please also refer to the Workshops' Website at the ZZF Potsdam.

The “environment” emerged as a new field of knowledge and experience after the Second World War. Since then, the formulation and implementation of policies often differed from the ideal type of rationalistic policy-making that simply demanded for the transmission of scientific solutions to political power brokers. Environmental governance itself became an object of theorization and questions about the proper instruments of how to best intervene into eco-systems and human environmental behavior were contested scientifically as much as politically. Changing political modes of governance have only been studied tentatively for environmental politics in the 20th century, while (master) narratives under such umbrella terms as Keynesianism or Neoliberalism have been discussed more intensively by political and social scientists as well as historians for developments in economic or social policy.

The expansion of the environmental management state occurred mainly since the 1970s, that is in the same period when the state’s capacity to regulate and intervene into economy and society was increasingly called into question. Environmental governance was, thus, deeply entangled with the political challenges and transformations since the 1970s. Focusing on both industrial production and consumption as fields of regulation, policymakers, politicians, and environmental experts had to grapple with the seemingly contradictory goals of economic growth and environmental protection, whilst expecting ecological catastrophes (resource exhaustion, Waldsterben, excessive waste, pollution or climate change) and experiencing prolonged economic crises. While the end of Keynesianism and traditional command-and-control-regulation is commonly supposed to have given rise to ideas of deregulation and economization, our workshop intends to scrutinize and challenge these broad concepts as well as historiographical narratives tha embody them. To that end, it focuses on concrete interactions of environmental expertise and policy-making.


To download the workshops'  programme, please click here.