Course code EDS348

EDS348 The Politics and Governance of the Environment

Norsk emneinformasjon

Search for other courses here

Showing course contents for the educational year 2014 - 2015 .

Course responsible: John Andrew Mcneish
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Department of International Environment and Development Studies
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Spring parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Spring parallel, .
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2010-2011
Preferential right:
Course contents:

In this course we reveal the complexities of international and national environmental governance. 

As such we study the role of the state, non governmental organizations, the private sector and of the multilateral system (UN; WB; IMF; WTO) in the control and management of environmental resources. Particular study is made of specific international environmental agreements and conventions and of the politics that lies behind their formation and limitation. 

The course furthermore considers specific contexts of environmental and resource-based conflicts. Study is made  of the politics of governance and discussions made of the possibilities and limitations of responding to environmental contestation. 

In the first part of the course we study key foundational issues in the field of environmental governance i.e.conceptualizations of the state, law, power, bureaucracy, institutionalism, democratic participation, the resource curse and the political economy of resource conflict. Introduction and discussion is also made of the basis and operation of different regulatory tools in environmental governance

In the second part of the course examination is made of key issues and themes in international environmental governance. A number of guest lecturers will teach students about the intricacies of existing conventions and the complex politics of choice and deliberation taking place at the international level related to climate change and specific environmental resources.

In the third part of the course examination is made of the politics and governance of globally traded commodities, the history of power relations and political economies that shape their exploitation and extraction, and contemporary efforts to moderate, protect and/or commercialize them.

Learning outcome:

Students shall acquire deeper insights into the theories of environmental governance and resource regimes. The course makes explicit and critical use of theoretical approaches drawn from anthropology, economics, political science, political economy and political ecology. Students shall develop the capacity to undertake interdisciplinary analyses and obtain higher level understanding of the ways in which social, resource and ecosystem dynamics and complexities influence the way different governance structures work. They shall moreover acquire the skills to study various management strategies for the use and maintenance of various environmental resources. Students shall acquire the capacity to use theory to study concrete cases concerning environmental governance at the international, national and local level.

Students shall, finally, be able to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of existing governance levels and structures, and develop and evaluate ideas for alternative solutions. The students will learn to connect theoretical perspectives and approaches to practical political issues, and through analysis suggest political solutions where efficiency, legitimacy and political viability are considered important criteria. The course emphasizes a tools approach to environmental governance where critical awareness is built regarding the possibilities and limitations of a series of standard approaches and methodologies for resource governance. Students develop their skills in critical thinking, in understanding both theor own and other people"s attitudes, values and norms and develop a self-reflection around both scientific and interpersonal relationships.

Learning activities:

Lectures, group discussion, student presentations, film, excursions and individual term paper with supervision


During the course students are expected to produce an individually produced term paper or digital-story in which theory is used to analyze a particular resource context or problem. The course demands students to be prepared to participate in \'problem-based\' group discussions and tutorials. Students will also sit a final written exam, on which the majority of their mark will be based. The course includes a 2-3 day mandatory excursion.

Teaching support:
Supervision in relation to term paper/digital story

Key Texts:

Evan, J. (2012) Environmental Governance. Routledge. 

Cleaver, F (2012) Development Through Bricolage. Rethinking Institutions for Natural Resource Management. Routledge Earthscan. 

EDS 304 Political Economy
Recommended prerequisites:
Background in Basic Social Theory
Mandatory activity:
Term Paper/Digital Story.  2-3 days Excursion. Students are expected to attend a minimum of 60% of the classes offered by the course.
Exam in ENGLISH ONLY. Term paper/Digital Story: 40 % Written exam 60 %. 
Nominal workload:
Lectures, Group Discussion, Student Presentations: 40 hrs Tutorials:6hrs utferd: 4 dager. Term Paper: 80hrs Supervision: 4hrs
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
Lectures, Group Discussion, Student Presentations: 40 t Tutorials 6 utferd: 2-3 dager.
An external examiner will evaluate the term paper and written examination.
Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / Ikke bestått