Greening the EU, Power practices, resistances and agenda setting
Sammanfattning: Between 1970 and 1995, well over 200 directives dealing with environmental problems have been adopted by the European Community. The ambition in this study has been to understand the process whereby environmental concerns have been brought up on the Community agenda and how that agenda has subsequently been shaped. It is argued that by starting from a critical position in ecocentric and feminist theorizing, new understandings of Community agenda setting can be gained. The study shows that greening of the EU is much more than just adding environmental policies to existing legislation. The author argues that this is because ecocentric ideas pose fundamental challenges to the dominant practices of the EU project. Greening, or environmental agenda-setting, can be understood as both macropolitical and micropolitical processes. In macropolitics, economist, sovereign, scientific and bureaucratic power practices mobilize specific biases toward ecocentric alternatives. Such power practices are based on a dualistic and gendered logic which has excluded certain problems, strategies and groups, while privileging others. Although these power practices are dominant, they can be reshaped and changed. Resistance takes place at the level where decisions are made, problems and solutions articulated and policies formed. It is argued that the most fruitful way to conceptualize agenda setting as micropolitics is through a modified garbage-can approach. Starting from such an approach, the thesis looks at the way environmental problems have been defined and solutions articulated and adopted; and addresses the question of which individual and group participants have been included in the process. It is at the level of micropolitics that new visions and ideas are confronted with the institutionalized biases or power practices. Due to both macropolitical and micropolitical processes, the environmental policies of the Community, while containing elements of ecocentric ideas, have been colored by specific Community practices.
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