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Partnerships for sustainable development as discursive practice: Shifts in discourses of environment and democracy


  • Mert, Aysem


Partnerships for sustainable development are the Type II outcomes that emerged out of the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, 2002. These new mechanisms of environmental governance were an intersection point of three significant discourses in global politics: those of participatory democracy, private governance, and sustainable development. By analysing these three discourses around partnerships for sustainable development, this paper aims at revealing the larger frames of reference and the meta-narratives that explain why and how institutions like partnerships for sustainable development have emerged and how they have actualised. Using key concepts from and discourse theoretical approaches of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, the paper focuses on the negotiations of formal international organisations as a practice of discourse institutionalisation. By recognising that the international negotiations can result in these institutions to carry contestations and conflicts, it traces the dilemmas inherent in partnerships, that reflect shifts in the discourses of environment and development.

Suggested Citation

  • Mert, Aysem, 2009. "Partnerships for sustainable development as discursive practice: Shifts in discourses of environment and democracy," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 109-122, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:11:y:2009:i:2:p:109-122

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Shanlin & Bai, Yu & Wang, Sufeng & Feng, Nanping, 2013. "Evaluating the transformation of China’s industrial development mode during 2000–2009," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 585-594.
    2. Blicharska, Malgorzata & Van Herzele, Ann, 2015. "What a forest? Whose forest? Struggles over concepts and meanings in the debate about the conservation of the Białowieża Forest in Poland," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 22-30.
    3. Vijge, Marjanneke J., 2015. "Competing discourses on REDD+: Global debates versus the first Indian REDD+ project," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 38-47.
    4. Krott, Max & Giessen, Lukas, 2014. "Learning from practices — implications of the “practice based approach” for forest and environmental policy research," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 12-16.
    5. Leipold, Sina, 2014. "Creating forests with words — A review of forest-related discourse studies," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 12-20.
    6. Mohammed Asaduzzaman & Jari Kaivo-oja & Jari Stenvall & Sari Jusi, 2016. "Strengthening Local Governance in Developing Countries: Partnership as an Alternative Approach," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 335-356, September.
    7. Ayşem Mert, 2014. "Hybrid governance mechanisms as political instruments: the case of sustainability partnerships," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 225-244, September.
    8. Emmanuelle Cheyns, 2014. "Making “minority voices” heard in transnational roundtables: the role of local NGOs in reintroducing justice and attachments," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 31(3), pages 439-453, September.
    9. Aysem Mert, 2012. "Partnerships and the Privatisation of Environmental Governance: On Myths, Forces of Nature and Other Inevitabilities," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 475-498, November.
    10. Nina Hissen, 2014. "Frank Biermann and Philipp Pattberg (eds): Global Environmental Governance Reconsidered," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 199-202, May.
    11. van Heeswijk, Laura & Turnhout, Esther, 2013. "The discursive structure of FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade): The negotiation and interpretation of legality in the EU and Indonesia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 6-13.
    12. Sadath, Nazmus & Kleinschmit, Daniela & Giessen, Lukas, 2013. "Framing the tiger — A biodiversity concern in national and international media reporting," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 37-41.


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