Political Theory and Global Climate Change: Introduction

Steven Vanderheiden

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


    Climate change will shape the political, economic, and cultural landscape as surely as it shapes the natural landscape. It challenges our existing political institutions, ethical theories, and ways of conceptualizing the human relationship to the environment; it defies current principles of distributive justice, transcends current discourses on rights, and disrupts our sense of place. Political Theory and Global Climate Change argues that the conceptual tools of political theory can help us understand the obstacles to fair and effective global climate change policies, and this volume offers a selection of innovative and integrative scholarly efforts to do so. Illuminating the variety of political, economic, and social problems caused by global warming, the book applies a range of theoretical approaches and methodologies'from analytic philosophy and constitutional and legal theory to neo-Marxism and critical theory'using climate change as a case to test standard normative and empirical premises. The book first looks at distributive justice concerns raised by climate change, including allocation of the global atmospheric commons and how to establish the basis for a fair and effective global climate policy regime, then examines the complex relationships between climate change and society, including the way that social institutions and practices construct, reinforce, aim to address, and are disrupted by climatic instability. Showing how political theory challenges and is challenged by global climate change, the book both demonstrates and evaluates innovative approaches in the developing field of environmental political theory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPolitical Theory And Global Climate Change
    EditorsSteve Vanderheiden, John Barry
    Place of PublicationMassachusetts
    PublisherMIT Press
    ISBN (Print)9780262220842
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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