Varieties of State, Varieties of Ecological Transition by Robyn Eckersley
Breakfast 8.15-8.45 Seminar 8.45-9.45
Democratic states remain unrivalled as the social steering system with the greatest capacity, governing scope and legitimacy to transform economic and social practices in ways that facilitate deep de-carbonisation. Yet this potential is far from realised due to the deeply embedded mutual interdependencies between states and capitalist markets that thwart ‘great green transformations’ of the kind demanded by the civilization challenge of climate challenge. Nonetheless there are varieties of capitalism, state and society, and some permutations of these varieties have proved to be more conducive than others in producing greener states and societies. This paper offers a typological map of these permutations for democratic states, which provide different ‘horizons of political possibility’ for sustainability transitions. The map is intended as a heuristic to guide not only historical explanation of the politics of transition in different ‘state-society complexes’ but also prospective critical and strategic analysis of which sites and modes of political engagement are likely to be the most conductive to hastening and deepening the transition process.
Robyn Eckersley, professor of Political Science at the University of Melbourne Australia, is holder of the 2019 Kerstin Hesselgren visiting professorship, entitled 'Climate Leadership and Collective Action’.