At the Edge of Environmental Thinking
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From the 1980s onward, environmental concerns became part of the international political agenda with sustainable development turning into one of the pillars of contemporary sociocultural, political, and economic programs. This chapter analyses the two main approaches that made it possible, i.e., the realist and the constructivist one. The former (adopted by UN agencies, large NGOs, government, and business companies) prescribes the acquisition of as much as possible accurate and reliable data, which can provide tangible evidence of the pervasiveness of the problems. The latter is advanced by critical scholars to unveil the social construction of nature. Despite their differences, both of them grant the experts with the authority and legitimacy to combine nature, politics, and science in frameworks for action. This brings about, together with the search for a wise and efficient management of natural resources, also a number of normalized environmental discourses operating on people’s opinions and behaviors.
KeywordsRealism constructivism reflexive modernization post-environmentalism post-ecologism
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