Ecological Modernization, Risk Society, and the Green State

John S. Dryzek, David Downes, Christian Hunold, David Schlosberg and Hans‐Kristian Hernes

in Green States and Social Movements

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780199249022
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599095 | DOI:
 Ecological Modernization, Risk Society, and the Green State

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Ecological modernization now suggests that environmental values can be attached to the state's core economic imperative, while Ulrich Beck's risk society thesis suggests an environmental attachment to the state's core legitimation imperative. These developments could add up to a conservation imperative of the state—the green state—though no state is yet close to this situation. Norway has entrenched ecological modernization in a moderate weak form. Germany is closest to a strong form of ecological modernization that, in combination with risk‐induced legitimation crisis, points the way to a more reflexive and democratic political economy. The US has the sort of movement that could facilitate such a transformation—but its state has moved in exactly the opposite direction, casting economic and environmental values in old‐fashioned conflictual terms. Even the UK at long last appears to be capable of taking on board some of the key precepts of ecological modernization and democratization.

Keywords: conservation imperative; democracy; democratization; ecological modernization; economic imperative; environmental values; green state; legitimation crisis; legitimation imperative; risk society

Chapter.  12804 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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