IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/gam/jsusta/v11y2019i4p1023-d206432.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Deliberation and the Promise of a Deeply Democratic Sustainability Transition

Author

Listed:
  • Michael B. Wironen

    (Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
    Gund Institute for Environment, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA)

  • Robert V. Bartlett

    (Gund Institute for Environment, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
    Department of Political Science, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA)

  • Jon D. Erickson

    (Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
    Gund Institute for Environment, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA)

Abstract

Ecological economics arose as a normative transdiscipline aiming to generate knowledge and tools to help transition the economy toward a scale which is sustainable within the bounds of the earth system. Yet it remains unclear in practice how to legitimize its explicitly normative agenda. One potential means for legitimation can be found in deliberative social and political theory. We review how deliberative theory has informed ecological economics, pointing to three uses: first, to support valuation of non-market goods and services; second, to inform environmental decision-making more broadly; third, to ground alternative theories of development and wellbeing. We argue that deliberation has been used as problem-solving theory, but that its more radical implications have rarely been embraced. Embracing a deliberative foundation for ecological economics raises questions about the compatibility of deeply democratic practice and the normative discourses arguing for a sustainability transition. We highlight three potential mechanisms by which deliberation may contribute to a sustainability transition: preference formation; normative evaluation; and legitimation. We explore each in turn, demonstrating the theoretical possibility that deliberation may be conducive in and of itself to a sustainability transition. We point to a series of challenges facing the “scaling up” of deliberative systems that demand further empirical and theoretical work. These challenges constitute a research agenda for a deeply democratic sustainability transition and can inform the future development of ecological economics and other normative, critical transdisciplines.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael B. Wironen & Robert V. Bartlett & Jon D. Erickson, 2019. "Deliberation and the Promise of a Deeply Democratic Sustainability Transition," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(4), pages 1-18, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:4:p:1023-:d:206432
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/4/1023/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/4/1023/
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Munda, G. & Nijkamp, P. & Rietveld, P., 1994. "Qualitative multicriteria evaluation for environmental management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 97-112, July.
    2. Sneddon, Chris & Howarth, Richard B. & Norgaard, Richard B., 2006. "Sustainable development in a post-Brundtland world," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 253-268, May.
    3. Zografos, Christos & Howarth, Richard B. (ed.), 2008. "Deliberative Ecological Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195696974.
    4. Daly, Herman E., 1992. "Allocation, distribution, and scale: towards an economics that is efficient, just, and sustainable," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 185-193, December.
    5. Bromley, Daniel W., 1990. "The ideology of efficiency: Searching for a theory of policy analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 86-107, July.
    6. Nyborg, Karine, 2014. "Project evaluation with democratic decision-making: What does cost–benefit analysis really measure?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 124-131.
    7. Sagoff, M., 1998. "Aggregation and deliberation in valuing environmental public goods:: A look beyond contingent pricing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 213-230, February.
    8. Howarth, Richard B., 2007. "Towards an operational sustainability criterion," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 656-663, September.
    9. Wilson, Matthew A. & Howarth, Richard B., 2002. "Discourse-based valuation of ecosystem services: establishing fair outcomes through group deliberation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 431-443, June.
    10. Martinez-Alier, Joan & Munda, Giuseppe & O'Neill, John, 1998. "Weak comparability of values as a foundation for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 277-286, September.
    11. Igor Grossmann & Justin P. Brienza & D. Ramona Bobocel, 2017. "Wise deliberation sustains cooperation," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 1(3), pages 1-6, March.
    12. Rauschmayer, Felix & Leßmann, Ortrud, 2011. "Assets and drawbacks of the CA as a foundation for sustainability economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1835-1836, September.
    13. John Gowdy & Jon D. Erickson, 2005. "The approach of ecological economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(2), pages 207-222, March.
    14. Max-Neef, Manfred, 1995. "Economic growth and quality of life: a threshold hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 115-118, November.
    15. Funtowicz, Silvio O. & Ravetz, Jerome R., 1994. "The worth of a songbird: ecological economics as a post-normal science," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 197-207, August.
    16. Geoffrey Lamberton, 2005. "Sustainable sufficiency - an internally consistent version of sustainability," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 53-68.
    17. Gisli Palsson & Bronislaw Szerszynski & Sverker Sörlin & John Marks & Bernard Avril & Carole Crumley & Heide Hackmann & Poul Holm & John Ingram & Alan Kirman & Mercedes Pardo Buendia & Rifka Weehuizen, 2013. "Reconceptualizing the 'Anthropos' in the Anthropocene: Integrating the social sciences and humanities in global environmental change research," Post-Print hal-01500892, HAL.
    18. Gregory, Robin & Lichtenstein, Sarah & Slovic, Paul, 1993. "Valuing Environmental Resources: A Constructive Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 177-197, October.
    19. Pelenc, Jérôme & Ballet, Jérôme, 2015. "Strong sustainability, critical natural capital and the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 36-44.
    20. Spash, Clive L., 2007. "Deliberative monetary valuation (DMV): Issues in combining economic and political processes to value environmental change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 690-699, September.
    21. Ortrud Lessmann & Felix Rauschmayer, 2013. "Re-conceptualizing Sustainable Development on the Basis of the Capability Approach: A Model and Its Difficulties," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 95-114, February.
    22. Griewald, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2014. "Exploring an environmental conflict from a capability perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 30-39.
    23. Jonathan Aldred, 2006. "Incommensurability and Monetary Valuation," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 82(2), pages 141-161.
    24. Parks, Sarah & Gowdy, John, 2013. "What have economists learned about valuing nature? A review essay," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 3(C), pages 1-10.
    25. Polishchuk, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2012. "Beyond “benefits”? Looking at ecosystem services through the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 103-111.
    26. Bartkowski, Bartosz & Lienhoop, Nele, 2018. "Beyond Rationality, Towards Reasonableness: Enriching the Theoretical Foundation of Deliberative Monetary Valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 97-104.
    27. Gowdy, John M., 2007. "Toward an experimental foundation for benefit-cost analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 649-655, September.
    28. Ananda, Jayanath & Herath, Gamini, 2009. "A critical review of multi-criteria decision making methods with special reference to forest management and planning," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2535-2548, August.
    29. Temper, Leah & Martinez-Alier, Joan, 2013. "The god of the mountain and Godavarman: Net Present Value, indigenous territorial rights and sacredness in a bauxite mining conflict in India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 79-87.
    30. Kenter, Jasper O. & Bryce, Rosalind & Christie, Michael & Cooper, Nigel & Hockley, Neal & Irvine, Katherine N. & Fazey, Ioan & O’Brien, Liz & Orchard-Webb, Johanne & Ravenscroft, Neil & Raymond, Chr, 2016. "Shared values and deliberative valuation: Future directions," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 21(PB), pages 358-371.
    31. Rebecca Gutwald & Ortrud Leßmann & Torsten Masson & Felix Rauschmayer, 2014. "A Capability Approach to Intergenerational Justice? Examining the Potential of Amartya Sen's Ethics with Regard to Intergenerational Issues," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 355-368, November.
    32. Daly, Herman E, 1974. "The Economics of the Steady State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 15-21, May.
    33. Lehtonen, Markku, 2004. "The environmental-social interface of sustainable development: capabilities, social capital, institutions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 199-214, June.
    34. Failing, L. & Gregory, R. & Harstone, M., 2007. "Integrating science and local knowledge in environmental risk management: A decision-focused approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 47-60, October.
    35. Derek Bell, 2002. "How can Political Liberals be Environmentalists?," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 50(4), pages 703-724, September.
    36. Vatn, Arild, 2005. "Rationality, institutions and environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 203-217, November.
    37. Lawn, Philip A., 2003. "A theoretical foundation to support the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), and other related indexes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 105-118, February.
    38. Carolyn M. Hendriks, 2006. "Integrated Deliberation: Reconciling Civil Society's Dual Role in Deliberative Democracy," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 54, pages 486-508, October.
    39. Alex Y. Lo & Clive L. Spash, 2013. "Deliberative Monetary Valuation: In Search Of A Democratic And Value Plural Approach To Environmental Policy," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 768-789, September.
    40. Carolyn Hendriks, 2009. "Policy design without democracy? Making democratic sense of transition management," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 42(4), pages 341-368, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ivan Vargas Roncancio & Leah Temper & Joshua Sterlin & Nina L. Smolyar & Shaun Sellers & Maya Moore & Rigo Melgar-Melgar & Jolyon Larson & Catherine Horner & Jon D. Erickson & Megan Egler & Peter G. B, 2019. "From the Anthropocene to Mutual Thriving: An Agenda for Higher Education in the Ecozoic," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(12), pages 1-19, June.
    2. Pau Alarcón & José Luis Fernández-Martínez & Joan Font, 2020. "Comparing Environmental Advisory Councils: How They Work and Why it Matters," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(10), pages 1-18, May.
    3. Michael Benson & Chad Boda & Runa R. Das & Leslie King & Chad Park, 2022. "Sustainable Development and Canada’s Transitioning Energy Systems," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(4), pages 1-19, February.
    4. Kish, K. & Mallery, D. & Yahya Haage, G. & Melgar-Melgar, R. & Burke, M. & Orr, C. & Smolyar, N.L. & Sanniti, S. & Larson, J., 2021. "Fostering critical pluralism with systems theory, methods, and heuristics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    5. Dolter, Brett, 2021. "Greening the Saskatchewan grid: A case study in deliberative energy modelling," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 183(C).
    6. Kim Strandberg & Kim Backström & Janne Berg & Thomas Karv, 2021. "Democratically Sustainable Local Development? The Outcomes of Mixed Deliberation on a Municipal Merger on Participants’ Social Trust, Political Trust, and Political Efficacy," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(13), pages 1-17, June.
    7. Vatn, Arild, 2020. "Institutions for sustainability—Towards an expanded research program for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).
    8. Michel P. Pimbert & Boukary Barry, 2021. "Let the people decide: citizen deliberation on the role of GMOs in Mali’s agriculture," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 38(4), pages 1097-1122, December.
    9. Seckler, Matthias & Volkert, Jürgen, 2021. "The capability approach: A promising foundation for sustainable development?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 183(C).
    10. Dube, Benjamin, 2021. "Why cross and mix disciplines and methodologies?: Multiple meanings of Interdisciplinarity and pluralism in ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 179(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Remig, Moritz C., 2015. "Unraveling the veil of fuzziness: A thick description of sustainability economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 194-202.
    2. Spash, Clive L., 2013. "The shallow or the deep ecological economics movement?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 351-362.
    3. Pirgmaier, Elke, 2017. "The Neoclassical Trojan Horse of Steady-State Economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 52-61.
    4. Lienhoop, Nele & Schröter-Schlaack, Christoph, 2018. "Involving multiple actors in ecosystem service governance: Exploring the role of stated preference valuation," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 34(PB), pages 181-188.
    5. Lo, Alex Y., 2013. "Agreeing to pay under value disagreement: Reconceptualizing preference transformation in terms of pluralism with evidence from small-group deliberations on climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 84-94.
    6. Bunse, Lukas & Rendon, Olivia & Luque, Sandra, 2015. "What can deliberative approaches bring to the monetary valuation of ecosystem services? A literature review," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 88-97.
    7. Bartkowski, Bartosz & Lienhoop, Nele, 2018. "Beyond Rationality, Towards Reasonableness: Enriching the Theoretical Foundation of Deliberative Monetary Valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 97-104.
    8. Lo, Alex Y. & Spash, Clive L., 2011. "Articulation of Plural Values in Deliberative Monetary Valuation: Beyond Preference Economisation and Moralisation," MPRA Paper 30002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Ballet, Jérôme & Marchand, Lucile & Pelenc, Jérôme & Vos, Robin, 2018. "Capabilities, Identity, Aspirations and Ecosystem Services: An Integrated Framework," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 21-28.
    10. Pelenc, Jérôme & Bazile, Didier & Ceruti, Cristian, 2015. "Collective capability and collective agency for sustainability: A case study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 226-239.
    11. Pelenc, Jérôme & Ballet, Jérôme, 2015. "Strong sustainability, critical natural capital and the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 36-44.
    12. Beling, Adrián E. & Vanhulst, Julien & Demaria, Federico & Rabi, Violeta & Carballo, Ana E. & Pelenc, Jérôme, 2018. "Discursive Synergies for a ‘Great Transformation’ Towards Sustainability: Pragmatic Contributions to a Necessary Dialogue Between Human Development, Degrowth, and Buen Vivir," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 304-313.
    13. Christos Zografos & Richard B. Howarth, 2010. "Deliberative Ecological Economics for Sustainability Governance," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 2(11), pages 1-19, October.
    14. Ballet, Jérôme & Bazin, Damien Jérôme Albert & Komena, Boniface K., 2020. "Unequal capabilities and natural resource management: The case of Côte d’Ivoire," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    15. Pirgmaier, Elke, 2021. "The value of value theory for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 179(C).
    16. Lo, Alex, 2014. "The Problem of Methodological Pluralism in Ecological Economics," MPRA Paper 49543, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Del Corso, Jean-Pierre & Kephaliacos, Charilaos & Plumecocq, Gaël, 2015. "Legitimizing farmers' new knowledge, learning and practices through communicative action: Application of an agro-environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 86-96.
    18. Clive L Spash, 2007. "Deliberative Monetary Valuation (DMV) in Theory," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2007-01, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
    19. Illge, Lydia & Schwarze, Reimund, 2009. "A matter of opinion--How ecological and neoclassical environmental economists and think about sustainability and economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 594-604, January.
    20. Farrell, Katharine N., 2011. "Framing the Valuation of Ecosystem Services: A Theoretical Discussion of the Challenges and Opportunities Associated with Articulating Values that Reflect the Economic Contributions of Ecological Phen," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114362, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:4:p:1023-:d:206432. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.mdpi.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: MDPI Indexing Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.mdpi.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.