A talk by Dr. Jessica Hejny, candidate for assistant professor of environmental politics and policy.
Over the past decade collaborative environmental governance has garnered the attention of public policy practitioners and political scientists for its potential to generate a more democratic policymaking process, better environmental protection, and a more holistic approach to community needs. Collaborative environmental governance offers a reorientation away from top-down, command and control regulation, and towards local, deliberative policymaking in which the environmental problem and the community’s relationship to it are placed front and center. But while the promise of collaborative environmental governance has been well noted, theoretical work has tended to conceptualize collaboration in ways that hinder its progress in practice. In this presentation, I will set the challenges of environmental policymaking in historical context, highlighting the emergence of collaboration as a response to the failures of command and control regulation, and offer a way to think about collaboration, inspired by John Dewey’s theory of inquiry, that opens up new possibilities for environmental practice. I will argue that collaboration holds the promise of democratic and effective problem-solving because of its ability to negotiate conflicting interests and values and cope with a complex and changing problem context through the linked practices of deliberation and experimentation.
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