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Agency in Earth System Governance


Michele M. Betsill, Tabitha M. Benney, Andrea K. Gerlak, C. Brown, S. Chan, O. Enechi, R. B. Mitchell, I. Möller, J. J. Patterson, M. Scobie, S. van der Hel, O. E. Widerberg, A. Orsini, D. Cantwell, L. Iozzelli, M. Mills-Novoa, A. Elder, P. Sharma, K. Singh, T. R. Eimer, M. C. Brisbois, L. Schmitz, J. Luimers, P. Abernethy, M. Milkoreit, J. S. Bansard, H. Park, M. Angstadt, S. N. Kumar
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  • Date Published: January 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108705875

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About the Authors
  • The modern era is facing unprecedented governance challenges in striving to achieve long-term sustainability goals and to limit human impacts on the Earth system. This volume synthesizes a decade of multidisciplinary research into how diverse actors exercise authority in environmental decision making, and their capacity to deliver effective, legitimate and equitable Earth system governance. Actors from the global to the local level are considered, including governments, international organizations and corporations. Chapters cover how state and non-state actors engage with decision-making processes, the relationship between agency and structure, and the variations in governance and agency across different spheres and tiers of society. Providing an overview of the major questions, issues and debates, as well as the theories and methods used in studies of agency in earth system governance, this book provides a valuable resource for graduate students and researchers, as well as practitioners and policy makers working in environmental governance. This is one of a series of publications associated with the Earth System Governance Project. For more publications, see

    • Covers a broad spectrum of social science research from diverse disciplinary perspectives, drawing on a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to provide an understanding of earth system governance across multiple scales, issues and geographies
    • Accessibly written, the book will be of interest to those working in a broad range of disciplines who are looking for an overview of agency in earth system governance
    • Based on a systematic analysis of the journal literature from the last decade, the book highlights the most important research trends and debates
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Scholars in political science, international relations, legal studies, public administration, anthropology, sociology, geography, and ecology will find in this work an instructive literature review and valuable instrument for theory building.' M. Gunter Jr., Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108705875
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 174 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of contributors
    Part I. Introduction and Overview:
    1. Introduction: agency in earth system governance Michele M. Betsill, Tabitha M. Benney, Andrea K. Gerlak, C. Brown, S. Chan, O. Enechi, R. B. Mitchell, I. Möller, J. J. Patterson, M. Scobie, S. van der Hel and O. E. Widerberg
    2. Conceptualizing agency and agents in earth system governance M. Scobie, Tabitha M. Benney, C. Brown and O. E. Widerberg
    3. Theories and methods of agency research in earth system governance Tabitha M. Benney, A. Orsini, D. Cantwell and L. Iozzelli
    4. How geographies and issues matter in ESG-agency research Andrea K. Gerlak, M. Mills-Novoa, A. Elder, O. Enechi, P. Sharma and K. Singh
    Part II. Agency and the Dynamics of Earth System Governance:
    5. Power (ful) and power (less): a review of power in the ESG-agency scholarship Andrea K. Gerlak, T. R. Eimer, M. C. Brisbois, M. Mills-Novoa, L. Schmitz, J. Luimers and P. Abernethy
    6. The performance of agency in earth system governance Michele M. Betsill and M. Milkoreit
    7. Agency and knowledge in environmental governance: a thematic review M. Milkoreit, J. S. Bansard and S. van der Hel
    8. Agency and architecture: producing stability and change J. J. Patterson
    9. Agency in a multi-scalar world M. Scobie, Michele M. Betsill and H. Park
    10. Agency and norms: who defines what ought to be? M. Angstadt and I. Möller
    11. Agency in the allocation of and access to natural resources P. Sharma, O. Enechi and S. N. Kumar
    12. Agency and adaptiveness: navigating change and transformation J. J. Patterson
    13. Accountability in the governance of global change C. Brown and M. Scobie
    14. How to evaluate agents and agency S. Chan and R. B. Mitchell
    Part III. Policy Implications and the Future of Agency in Earth System Governance Research:
    15. Conclusion: policy implications of ESG-agency research and reflections on the road ahead Andrea K. Gerlak, Michele M. Betsill, J. J. Patterson, S. Chan, Tabitha M. Benney, M. C. Brisbois, T. R. Eimer and M. Scobie
    Appendix A

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    Agency in Earth System Governance

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  • Editors

    Michele M. Betsill, Colorado State University
    Michele M. Betsill is a professor of Political Science at Colorado State University. She has more than twenty years' experience in researching non-state and sub-national actors in global environmental governance. Her books include Transnational Climate Change Governance (co-authored with members of the Leverhulme Network on Transnational Climate Change Governance, Cambridge, 2014), NGO Diplomacy: The Influence of Nongovernmental Organizations in International Environmental Negotiations (co-edited with Elisabeth Corell, 2007), and Cities and Climate Change: Urban Sustainability and Global Environmental Governance (with Harriet Bulkeley, 2002). She was one of the founding leaders of the Earth System Governance Research Network and served on the scientific steering committee from 2008–18.

    Tabitha M. Benney, University of Utah
    Tabitha M. Benney is an assistant professor in the University of Utah's Department of Political Science and affiliated faculty in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program and the Center on Global Change and Sustainability. Her research focuses on mapping interactions within complex coupled systems. She is also a research fellow for the Earth Research Governance Network and an affiliated researcher with the Evolving Securities Initiative (ESI) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her books include Making Environmental Markets Work: The Varieties of Capitalism in Emerging Economies (2014) and Toward a New Energy Future with Jan Froestad, Cameron Holley and Clifford Shearling (forthcoming).

    Andrea K. Gerlak, University of Arizona
    Andrea K. Gerlak is an associate professor at the School of Geography and Development and research professor with the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona. Her research examines the causes of – and innovative solutions to – some of our world's most pressing water problems. Her work focuses on how we can better design institutions to promote adaptive, flexible policies to improve human and ecosystem well-being and produce fair and equitable decisions. She is the author of Mapping the New World Order (co-authored with Thomas J. Volgy, Zlatko Šabič and Petra Roter, 2009). She is a research fellow with the Earth System Governance project and a lead author of the 'Earth System Governance Science and Implementation Plan' (2018).


    Michele M. Betsill, Tabitha M. Benney, Andrea K. Gerlak, C. Brown, S. Chan, O. Enechi, R. B. Mitchell, I. Möller, J. J. Patterson, M. Scobie, S. van der Hel, O. E. Widerberg, A. Orsini, D. Cantwell, L. Iozzelli, M. Mills-Novoa, A. Elder, P. Sharma, K. Singh, T. R. Eimer, M. C. Brisbois, L. Schmitz, J. Luimers, P. Abernethy, M. Milkoreit, J. S. Bansard, H. Park, M. Angstadt, S. N. Kumar

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