Security and Solidarity: An Anti‐Reductionist Analysis of Environmental Policy

Michael Thompson

in Living with Nature

Published in print June 1999 | ISBN: 9780198295099
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599262 | DOI:
 Security and Solidarity: An Anti‐Reductionist Analysis of Environmental Policy

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Argues that excessive concern with environmental security at the national level obfuscates necessary attention to the plurality of environmental security concerns at the micro‐level at which Hobbesian competition is actually conducted. An environmental policy framework that reduces plurality will merely serve to destroy the network of trust and cooperation that needs to operate at the micro‐level, and upon which macro‐level security architectures are ultimately based. To avoid this, it is necessary to devise an anti‐reductionist approach based on two objectives: first, to dismantle the ‘realist’ model of international relations (and of security generally) that focuses on states as unitary actors in sole occupation of the policy stage; second, to introduce a more comprehensive concept of security as a spectrum of interlocking entities, from the macro‐ to the micro‐level, each requiring the development and consolidation of trust relationships. Taken together, these objectives imply that environmental security be considered as a mainstream component of a stable international order and not as a mere sideshow. The chapter concludes with an analysis of four behavioural styles, which form a key cultural aspect of the micro‐level dimension of anti‐reductionism–hierarchist, individualist, egalitarian, and fatalist. Each of these implies a different approach to self‐organization, a different sort of social solidarity, and a different set of expectations from environmental security.

Keywords: anti‐reductionism; environmental policy; environmental security; reductionism; security analysis; trust

Chapter.  6786 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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