Socioeconomics Research Seminar
Sustainability Governance in Troubled Times
Aspirations to govern for sustainable development have not been realized. Technocratic practices of governance of sustainability have depoliticised the agenda. This, in turn, can reinforce the erosion of trust in democratic institutions and procedures. But the rise of right wing populism has re-politicized the public sphere: We are in ‘troubled times’ – which both reveal and enhance the political nature of steering.
Populism itself aligns with the demand for governance that reflects the ‘will of the people’. But its right-wing expression privileges a form of bounded stakeholder participation. Furthermore, while governance for sustainability is premised on value changes, for populism, the ‘common sense’ of the people is the basis of all good politics. The populist imaginary does not challenge underlying values nor offer a corrective. Rather, it presents further threats for sustainability.
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