Course code EDS348

EDS348 The Politics and Governance of the Environment

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2015 - 2016 .

Course responsible: John Andrew Mcneish
Teachers: Pål Olav Vedeld
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Department of International Environment and Development Studies
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
None-
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:
MIES
Course contents:

As recognition of human responsibility for climate change and environmental degradation grows increasing importance has been given to the field of environmental governance. Yet many of the fundamental elements of environmental governance remain unclear and controversial in both theory and practice. Indeed, there are a series of assumptions regarding rational choice, the centrality of institutions and technological innovation that have only recently started to be questioned by academics and policy-makers. Aiming to aid the further development of the field, this course is a counter-point to earlier approaches through its emphasis on the importance of constructivist approaches to understanding social organization and decision-making, as well as the key role played by politics and social action in new models for environmental governance.

As such the course both describes and explains the historical development of existing structures and theories for environmental governance as well as demonstrating and discussing a series of alternatives including the heightening role of civil society and the importance of participatory approaches. In doing so the course draws together global, national and local approaches to governance.. The course therefore explores the possibilities and limitations of institutional, legal, market based and political tools to manage all natural resources and human impact on the environment. Study is furthermore made of specific contexts of environmental destruction and resource-based conflicts, and consideration made of possible institutional and political means to respond and mitigate the damaging effects of these impacts and tensions. Here the artificial divide in environmental governance and resource governance literatures between renewables and non-renewables is purposefully avoided. 

Learning outcome:

Theoretical Learning

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.

Skills Learning

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.

Attitudinal Learning

Through active participation in class discussions, student presentations, group work, visual and written assignments students develop their skills in critical thinking. The course aims to encourage reflection on both own and other people's attitudes, values and norms and develop self-reflection around both scientific and interpersonal relationships. 

Learning activities:

Lectures, problem based group discussion, student presentations, digital stories, excursions, individual term papers and written exam. 

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 requires 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 (60%) will be based.

The course includes 4 days of mandatory excursion. Over the last three years we have travelled to the district of Telemark. Telemark has the distinction of being one of Norway´s most culturally traditional, historically industrialised, topographically and biologically diverse regions. Moving from the islands of Jomfrulandet to Bø, to Hardangervidda and to Vemork, Rjukan we are confronted with these contrasts and meet with a series of people and institutions involved directly with environmental governance in the region.

Digital storytelling at its most basic is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. There are a wealth of other terms used to describe this practice, such as digital documentaries, computer-based narratives, digital essays, electronic memoirs, interactive storytelling, etc.; but in general, they all revolve around the idea of combining the art of telling stories with a variety of multimedia, including graphics, audio, video, and Web publishing.

For more information about digital story-telling see:http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/page.cfm?id=27&cid=27

http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/page.cfm?id=27&cid=27http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/page.cfm?id=27&cid=27

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

Key Texts:

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

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

Prerequisites:
EDS 304 Political Economy
Recommended prerequisites:
Masters Level Study. 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.
Assessment:

Written exam in ENGLISH ONLY. Students answer a total of 3 questions. 3 hour exam. No electronic assistance allowed except in exceptional cases. 

Term paper/Digital Story: 40 % Written exam 60 %. 

Nominal workload:
Lectures, Group Discussion, Student Presentations: 40 hrs; Tutorials:6hrs. excursion: 3 days; Supervision: 4hrs
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to Masters level education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)
Reduction of credits:
None
Type of course:
Lectures, Group Discussion, Student Presentations: 40 t Tutorials 6 utferd: 2-3 dager.
Note:
None
Examiner:
An external examiner will evaluate the final written examination.
Examination details: Continuous exam: A - E / Ikke bestått