Friday, May 23, 2008

Abstract submission

Shifting scenes: from the green college fields of America to Fröken Olssons Kafé in Gothenburg.

Today I submitted my paper to the International Studies Association's 50th Annual Convention in January. It is immensely frustrating to have a maximum of 200 words. But here we go:

"While structural approaches to sustainability have remained unable to muster wider political support, green political theory has for some time taken a voluntarist turn, arguing that deep changes in attitudes and behaviour are necessary to reduce the ecological debt of the rich countries.

Within environmental citizenship theory it is believed that justice requires each individual to start living within his or her "ecological space". Firmly rooted in the pollution paradigm, environmental citizenship theory holds that the path to sustainability goes through a dramatic reduction in economic activity and international trade.

Since such cuts in material welfare run counter to the preferences of many, doubts can be had about their political plausibility. More seriously, with a world population approaching seven billions, it is doubtful that even such harsh sacrifices would suffice to ensure environmental sustainability. Not only would reduced international commerce threaten the livelihoods of millions in the developing countries, it also seems as if the prospects of long-term sustainability depend on economic growth to support radical innovation and the propagation of breakthrough technologies in for instance energy production.

Fashionable as a sense of individual guilt may be, it fails to recognize the responsibility of the rich world to provide new technologies capable of securing global environmental sustainability."



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