Epistemic Communities

Peter Haas

in The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552153
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Epistemic Communities

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As the world becomes more globalised, decision makers grow uncertain about what their interests are and how best to achieve them, and ideas become increasingly important as maps or frames for decision makers in an unfamiliar setting. With the end of the Cold War, decision makers cannot rely on geopolitical doctrines as a guide for various areas of foreign policy and international practice. The environment provides a telling issue area in which to address the role of ideas in an increasingly uncertain global policy context. This article looks at the concept of ‘epistemic communities’, their role in institutionalising ideas in international relations, and, in particular, the role played by ecological ideas in the development of international environmental law and the role played by sympathetic international environmental lawyers in converting such rules of nature to rules of man. First, it considers the concept of epistemic communities and then discusses the intellectual history of scholarship about epistemic communities. Finally, the article examines ecological epistemic community and multilateral environmental governance.

Keywords: epistemic communities; international relations; international environmental law; lawyers; multilateral environmental governance

Article.  5915 words. 

Subjects: Law ; International Law ; Environment and Energy Law

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