Tag Archives: critical environmental law

Call for papers: “Searching for Critical Environmental Law: Theories, Methods, Critiques”

Searching for Critical Environmental Law: Theories, Methods, Critiques

CALL FOR PAPERS
WORK SHOP, MAY 11, 2018 in Oxford

CO-ORGANIZED BY ANDREAS KOTSAKIS , OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY & VITO DELUCIA, UIT ARCTIC UNIVERSITY OF NORWAY

The field of critical environmental law has yet to develop any consistent self-awareness as a set of problematisations, methods and theories of either law or the environment, despite promising work in recent years. With this realisation as the point of departure, the aim of this workshop is to debate the conception and role of this field of legal scholarship. Critical environmental law is understood as an enquiry into the theoretical and institutional apparatus of both environmental law and the rationality of environmentalism. It seeks to problematise standard ontological, epistemological and axiological narratives from an interdisciplinary perspective, and to find and expose the slippages at the margins of the intersection between law and ecology.

However, any conceptual or practical project of critical environmental law must now contend with our contemporary condition; the continuing crisis of capitalism framing a period of protestations, uprisings and revolts, a general discontent in the context of which the operation of an objective, depoliticised and scientifically -derived environmental law as an essential element of liberal environmentalism appears increasingly strained. But was it ever effective in the first place? On the other hand, critiques of environmental science can serve projects that are inimical to the political commitments of critical thought. How can critiques of the limitations of liberal and managerial notions of environmental law thrive in the world of denialism and extremism? In this context, the fields of international, transnational and comparative environmental law have become even more important in combating the geographically restricted nature of environmental law scholarship.

Therefore, this call for papers invites contributions that grapple with the challenge of conceiving and critiquing the relation between law and the environment through innovative ideas, categories and instruments, and in the contemporary context of crisis and contestation. Contributions from international, transnational, comparative or domestic perspective are welcome.

Possible themes include, but are not restricted to:
 What is critical environmental law? What can it be? What are its methodological commitments and ethical orientations?
 What are the limits – conceptual, political, practical – of environmental law?
 Relation between environmental law and resistance
 Relation between environmental law and science
 Critical readings of the law in/on the Anthropocene
 Critical thought and the environment
 Evaluating Earth jurisprudence/wild law approaches
 Transnational and comparative approaches to environmental law
 What is the specific dimension of critical international environmental law?

Please send abstracts of 500 words to Andreas Kotsakis – akotsakis@brookes.ac.uk and Vito De Lucia – vito.delucia@uit.no by April 3, 2018.

Limited funding is available for travel and accommodation in Oxford. We will communicate decisions on the workshop by April 8, 2018.

Feature image: Anna Grear

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Actors or Spectators? Vulnerability and Critical Environmental Law (A Philippopoulos‐Mihalopoulos)

Author

Andreas Philippopoulos‐Mihalopoulos

Keywords

Spectators, ecological disaster, actors, false dichotomy, vulnerability, middle, rejection of binaries, open ecology, critical environmental law

Abstract

The question of whether we as humans should remain spectators of the great theatre of ecological disaster or become actors is a false dichotomy. In this chapter, I argue that both are needed, since the critical distance of spectatorship does not annul the need for immersion in the ecological continuum. A tool in the realisation of this is the concept of vulnerability, which is here conceptualised as a space of ‘the middle’ (as opposed, emphatically, to ‘the centre’) and offers an opportunity to think away from the sterile debate on eco/anthropocentricity and from such limiting hierarchies as animal/human, human/environmental, natural/artificial. This new, vulnerable position of the middle allows the reconfiguration of ecological processes, and more specifically, the position of environmental law in relation to them. Environmental law now finds itself amidst a new, moving, ‘open ecology’ of social, biological and ecological processes. This is a new, radical conceptualisation of what I have called ‘critical environmental law’, based upon an epistemology of observation and an ontology of being part of this open ecology. Environmental law, in this light, is simultaneously reformulated as being an invitation to disciplinary and ontological openness and yet a call to remain immanent within existing legal structures. This finds expression in four critical environmental positions that set the stage for the further elaboration of a critical environmental law.

Citation

(2013) 3/5 Oñati Socio-Legal Series 854-876

Paper

Actors or Spectators? Vulnerability and Critical Environmental Law

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Law and Ecology: New Environmental Foundations (Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos)

Editor

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

Keywords

Law, Ecology, Critical Environmental Law, Redefinition of the ‘human’, collapse of boundaries

Abstract

Law and Ecology: New Environmental Foundations contains a series of theoretical and applied perspectives on the connection between law and ecology, which together offer a radical and socially responsive foundation for environmental law. While its legal corpus grows daily, environmental law has not enjoyed the kind of jurisprudential underpinning generally found in other branches of law. This book forges a new ecological jurisprudential foundation for environmental law – where ‘ecological’ is understood both in the narrow sense of a more ecosystemic perspective on law, and in the broad sense of critical self-reflection of the mechanisms of environmental law as they operate in a context where boundaries between the human and the non-human are collapsing, and where the traditional distinction between ecocentrism and anthropocentrism is recast. Addressing current debates, including the intellectual property of bioresources; the protection of biodiversity in view of tribal land demands; the ethics of genetically modified organisms; the redefinition of the ‘human’ through feminist and technological research; the spatial/geographical boundaries of environmental jurisdiction; and the postcolonial geographies of pollution – Law and Ecology redefines the way environmental law is perceived, theorised and applied. It also constitutes a radical challenge to the traditionally human-centred frameworks and concerns of legal theory.

Citation

A Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (ed) Law and Ecology: New Environmental Foundations (London: Routledge Glasshouse, 2012)

Book

Law and Ecology: New Environmental Foundations

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…critical environmental law and ontological vulnerability (A. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos)

Author

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

Keywords

Critical environmental law, critique, Deleuze, immanence, Luhmann, middle, ontological vulnerability, open ecology

Abstract

This is a radical meditation on the space of ontological vulnerability as the awareness of being existentially exposed. This space, conceptualised as a space of ‘the middle’ (as opposed, emphatically, to ‘the centre’), offers an opportunity to think away from the sterile debate on eco/anthropocentricity and from such limiting hierarchies as animal/human, human/environmental, natural/artificial. This new, vulnerable position of the middle allows the reconfiguration of ecological processes, and more specifically the position of environmental law in relation to them. Environmental law now finds itself amidst a new, moving, ‘open ecology’ of social, biological and ecological processes. This is a new, radical conceptualisation of what the author has called ‘critical environmental law’, based upon an epistemology of observation and an ontology of being part of this open ecology. Environmental law, in this light, is simultaneously reformulated as an invitation to disciplinary and ontological openness and yet a call to remain immanent within existing legal structures. This finds expression in four critical environmental positions that set the stage for the further elaboration of a critical environmental law.

Citation

(2011) 2(1) Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 5-22

Paper

‘…the sound of a breaking string’: critical environmental law and ontological vulnerability

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