Authority, Expertise and Environmental Change
Full course description
Scholars agree that the present-day world is undergoing rapid environmental change. Some even see a new epoch arising in which humans have an all-pervasive impact on the planet: the so-called ‘Anthropocene’. Global warming, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss are just some of the environmental challenges that come with this increased human impact. In this course, we will explore the ways in which modern societies respond to these challenges. How are environmental problems defined? Who is ascribed expertise when it comes to finding solutions? Who has the political authority to govern the global environment? How, finally, are alternative environmental futures imagined and decided upon? Rather than as just a technical issue we will, thus, study the environment as an object of scientific controversy, political struggle and societal debate.
The course aims to generate understanding of how authority and expertise with regard to the environment is generated in present-day society. Students will be trained to use these insights for analysing concrete environmental controversies and writing a policy brief.