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This book provides a range of perspectives on some of the most pressing contemporary challenges in EU environmental law
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Green Infrastructure (GI) facilities have capacity to enhance health and mitigate Environmental Sustainability Challenges (ESC). However, the extent of the mitigation and health benefits is unclear in developing countries. This study examined the impact of GI on ESC and Perceived Health (PH) of urban residents in Lagos Metropolis, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 1858 residents of Lagos Metropolis who completed semi-structured questionnaires. Descriptive statistics and chi-square test were used to explore data distributions and assess association of the availability of GI with resident’s PH and ESC. Odds ratio with 95% confidence interval (OR;95%CI) were estimated for good health and ESC mitigation. Participants were mostly men (58.9%) and younger than 50 years old (86.3%). Good health (20.5%) and high mitigation of ESC (collection and disposal of waste-52.7% and official development assistance-63.9%) were reported where GI is mostly available. Participants were more likely to report good health (OR:1.40; 95%CI:1.02-1.92) and high mitigation of ESC [water quality (OR:1.42; 95%CI:1.12-1.81) passenger transport mode (OR:1.41; 95%CI:1.06-1.89)] where GI are mostly available. Availability of Green infrastructure is supporting health and mitigating environmental sustainability challenges in the study area. Green infrastructure should be provided in urban areas where environmental sustainability is under threat. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2020), 4(1), 33-46. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2020.v4n1-4
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With contributions from a wide range of thematic areas, this book provides a diverse perspective on the contemporary env
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Bioremediation for Environmental Sustainability: Toxicity, Mechanisms of Contaminants Degradation, Detoxification and Ch
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Table of contents :
Figures and tables
Introduction: Governance, knowledge and sustainability – an introduction and overview
1 Sustainability and knowledge: European environmental policy and the challenge of sustainability in a multilevel system
2 The place of knowledge in policy-making processes: An assessment of three EU environmental policy instruments
3 Governance and knowledge: How do they interact? Conceptual propositions
4 The cognitive turn in political science
5 The zone of knowledge transactions: Recent tendencies in knowledge production, knowledge sharing and the trading of knowledge from a socio-spatial perspective
6 Theories of discourse and narrative: What do they mean for governance and policy?
7 Strategic environmental assessment, strategic spatial planning and the politics of local knowledge
8 How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg: The impacts of reflective knowledge demonstrated in an empirical case of implementing the EU emissions trading scheme
9 Governance, knowledge and policy networks in Strategic Environmental Assessment
10 Governing knowledge for sustainability: An appropriate research heuristic or too complex for reality?
Sustainability in European Environmental Policy
This book examines sustainability in European environmental policy and explores the related challenges of governance and knowledge. It provides an assessment of the EU sustainability strategy and concentrates on three key directives: Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Emissions Trading (ET) and Air Pollution control. Sustainability in European Environmental Policy develops an innovative analytical model for the study of governance for sustainability, focusing on the potential synergies between new governance modes and different forms of knowledge. This cross-national and comparative volume features research on nine European countries and focuses on topics including governance, spatial planning and networks in the context of sustainability policy and its development within the UK, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Greece and Norway. Making an important contribution to debates on governance, sustainability, knowledge and policy, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, environmental studies, urban studies and European studies. Rob Atkinson is a Professor in the Cities Research Centre, Faculty of the Built Environment, University of the West of England. Georgios Terizakis works in the unit for the science-practice cooperation of the Centre of Research Excellence, Urban Research at Darmstadt University of Technology and coordinated the GFORS project. Karsten Zimmermann works in the Institute for Political Science and LOEWE Centre of Research Excellence, Urban Research at Darmstadt University of Technology.
Routledge Advances in European Politics
1. Russian Messianism Third Rome, revolution, Communism and after Peter J.S. Duncan
8. Ethnic Cleansing in the Balkans Nationalism and the destruction of tradition Cathie Carmichael
2. European Integration and the Postmodern Condition Governance, democracy, identity Peter van Ham
9. Democracy and Enlargement in Post-Communist Europe The democratisation of the general public in fifteen Central and Eastern European countries, 1991–98 Christian W. Haerpfer
3. Nationalism in Italian Politics The stories of the Northern League, 1980–2000 Damian Tambini 4. International Intervention in the Balkans since 1995 Edited by Peter Siani-Davies 5. Widening the European Union The politics of institutional change and reform Edited by Bernard Steunenberg 6. Institutional Challenges in the European Union Edited by Madeleine Hosli, Adrian van Deemen and Mika Widgrén 7. Europe Unbound Enlarging and reshaping the boundaries of the European Union Edited by Jan Zielonka
10. Private Sector Involvement in the Euro The power of ideas Stefan Collignon and Daniela Schwarzer 11. Europe A Nietzschean perspective Stefan Elbe 12. European Union and E-Voting Addressing the European Parliament’s internet voting challenge Edited by Alexander H. Trechsel and Fernando Mendez
13. European Union Council Presidencies A comparative perspective Edited by Ole Elgström 14. European Governance and Supranational Institutions Making states comply Jonas Tallberg 15. European Union, NATO and Russia Martin Smith and Graham Timmins 16. Business, The State and Economic Policy The case of Italy G. Grant Amyot 17. Europeanization and Transnational States Comparing Nordic central governments Bengt Jacobsson, Per Lægreid and Ove K. Pedersen 18. European Union Enlargement A comparative history Edited by Wolfram Kaiser and Jürgen Elvert
22. Evaluating Euro–Mediterranean Relations Stephen C. Calleya 23. The Changing Face of European Identity A seven-nation study of (supra) national attachments Edited by Richard Robyn 24. Governing Europe Discourse, governmentality and European integration William Walters and Jens Henrik Haahr 25. Territory and Terror Conflicting nationalisms in the Basque country Jan Mansvelt Beck 26. Multilateralism, German Foreign Policy and Central Europe Claus Hofhansel 27. Popular Protest in East Germany Gareth Dale
19. Gibraltar British or Spanish? Peter Gold
28. Germany’s Foreign Policy Towards Poland and the Czech Republic Ostpolitik revisited Karl Cordell and Stefan Wolff
20. Gendering Spanish Democracy Monica Threlfall, Christine Cousins and Celia Valiente
29. Kosovo The politics of identity and space Denisa Kostovicova
21. European Union Negotiations Processes, networks and negotiations Edited by Ole Elgström and Christer Jönsson
30. The Politics of European Union Enlargement Theoretical approaches Edited by Frank Schimmelfennig and Ulrich Sedelmeier
31. Europeanizing Social Democracy? The rise of the party of European socialists Simon Lightfoot 32. Conflict and Change in EU Budgetary Politics Johannes Lindner 33. Gibraltar, Identity and Empire E.G. Archer 34. Governance Stories Mark Bevir and R.A.W Rhodes 35. Britain and the Balkans 1991 until the present Carole Hodge 36. The Eastern Enlargement of the European Union John O’Brennan 37. Values and Principles in European Union Foreign Policy Edited by Sonia Lucarelli and Ian Manners 38. European Union and the Making of a Wider Northern Europe Pami Aalto 39. Democracy in the European Union Towards the emergence of a public sphere Edited by Liana Giorgi, Ingmar Von Homeyer and Wayne Parsons 40. European Union Peacebuilding and Policing Michael Merlingen with Rasa Ostrauskaite
41. The Conservative Party and European Integration since 1945 At the heart of Europe? N.J. Crowson 42. E-Government in Europe Re-booting the state Edited by Paul G. Nixon and Vassiliki N. Koutrakou 43. EU Foreign and Interior Policies Cross-pillar politics and the social construction of sovereignty Stephan Stetter 44. Policy Transfer in European Union Governance Regulating the utilities Simon Bulmer, David Dolowitz, Peter Humphreys and Stephen Padgett 45. The Europeanization of National Political Parties Power and organizational adaptation Edited by Thomas Poguntke, Nicholas Aylott, Elisabeth Carter, Robert Ladrech and Kurt Richard Luther 46. Citizenship in Nordic Welfare States Dynamics of choice, duties and participation in a changing Europe Edited by Bjørn Hvinden and Håkan Johansson 47. National Parliaments within the Enlarged European Union From victims of integration to competitive actors? Edited by John O’Brennan and Tapio Raunio
48. Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland since 1980 The totality of relationships Eamonn O’Kane 49. The EU and the European Security Strategy Forging a global Europe Edited by Sven Biscop and Jan Joel Andersson 50. European Security and Defence Policy An implementation perspective Edited by Michael Merlingen and Rasa Ostrauskaitė 51. Women and British Party Politics Descriptive, substantive and symbolic representation Sarah Childs 52. The Selection of Ministers in Europe Hiring and firing Edited by Keith Dowding and Patrick Dumont 53. Energy Security Europe’s new foreign policy challenge Richard Youngs 54. Institutional Challenges in PostConstitutional Europe Governing change Edited by Catherine Moury and Luís de Sousa 55. The Struggle for the European Constitution A past and future history Michael O’Neill
56. Transnational Labour Solidarity Mechanisms of commitment to cooperation within the European trade union movement Katarzyna Gajewska 57. The Illusion of Accountability in the European Union Edited by Sverker Gustavsson, Christer Karlsson and Thomas Persson 58. The European Union and Global Social Change A critical geopolitical-economic analysis József Böröcz 59. Citizenship and Collective Identity in Europe Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski 60. EU Enlargement and Socialization Turkey and Cyprus Stefan Engert 61. The Politics of EU Accession Turkish challenges and Central European experiences Edited by Lucie Tunkrová and Pavel Šaradín 62. The Political History of European Integration The hypocrisy of democracy-through-market Hagen Schulz-Forberg and Bo Stråth 63. The Spatialities of Europeanization Power, governance and territory in Europe Alun Jones and Julian Clark
64. European Union Sanctions and Foreign Policy When and why do they work? Clara Portela
67. The EU Presence in International Organizations Edited by Spyros Blavoukos and Dimitris Bourantonis
65. The EU’s Role in World Politics A retreat from liberal internationalism Richard Youngs
68. Sustainability in European Environmental Policy Challenges of governance and knowledge Edited by Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann
66. Social Democracy and European Integration The politics of preference formation Edited by Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos
Sustainability in European Environmental Policy
Challenges of governance and knowledge Edited by Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann
First published 2011 by Routledge 2 Park Square Milton Park Abingdon Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business. This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2010. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk. © 2011 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann for selection and editorial matter; individual contributors, their contribution. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Sustainability in European environmental policy : challenges of governance and knowledge / edited by Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis, and Karsten Zimmermann. p. cm. — (Routledge advances in European politics ; 68) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Environmental policy—European Union countries. 2. Sustainability— European Union countries. I. Atkinson, Rob. II. Terizakis, Georgios, 1975- III. Zimmermann, Karsten. GE190.E85S865 2010 333.72094—dc22 2010014141 ISBN 0-203-84171-9 Master e-book ISBN
ISBN: 978-0-415-56289-8 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-203-84171-6 (ebk)
The research on which this collection is based comes from the Governance for Sustainability (GFORS) project, funded by the European Commission, DG research; an integrated project within the EU’s 6th Framework Programme (Contract no. 028501). This book reflects only the views of the authors. It should not be construed as representing the views of the European Commission. The European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
List of figures and tables List of contributors List of abbreviations
Introduction: Governance, knowledge and sustainability – an introduction and overview
xv xvii xxi
ROB ATKINSON, GEORGIOS TERIZAKIS AND KARSTEN ZIMMERMANN
1 Sustainability and knowledge: European environmental policy and the challenge of sustainability in a multilevel system
KARSTEN ZIMMERMANN, BAS DENTERS AND PIETER-JAN KLOK
2 The place of knowledge in policy-making processes: an assessment of three EU environmental policy instruments
3 Governance and knowledge: how do they interact? Conceptual propositions
HUBERT HEINELT, GERD HELD, TANJA KOPP-MALEK, ULF MATTHIESEN, EVA REISINGER AND KARSTEN ZIMMERMANN
4 The cognitive turn in political science FRANK NULLMEIER, TANJA KOPP-MALEK AND STEFFEN SCHNEIDER
5 The zone of knowledge transactions: recent tendencies in knowledge production, knowledge sharing and the trading of knowledge from a socio-spatial perspective
ULF MATTHIESEN AND EVA REISINGER
6 Theories of discourse and narrative: what do they mean for governance and policy?
ROB ATKINSON, GERD HELD AND STEPHEN JEFFARES
7 Strategic environmental assessment, strategic spatial planning and the politics of local knowledge
ALESSANDRO BALDUCCI, CLAUDIO CALVARESI AND KARSTEN ZIMMERMANN
8 How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg: the impacts of reflective knowledge demonstrated in an empirical case of implementing the EU emissions trading scheme
SONJA LÖBER AND HUBERT HEINELT
9 Governance, knowledge and policy networks in Strategic Environmental Assessment
CAROLINA PACCHI, KARA DAVIES,VALERIA FEDELI AND MARTIN LUND-IVERSEN
10 Governing knowledge for sustainability: an appropriate research heuristic or too complex for reality? ROB ATKINSON, GEORGIOS TERIZAKIS AND KARSTEN ZIMMERMANN
Figures and tables
0.1 3.1 3.2 3.3 5.1
8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7
9.8 9.9 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15
Basic conceptual triangle of GFORS project 3 The three governing orders 62 The action arena following the IAD framework 65 The GFORS concept 69 Three levels of knowledge-based interactional dynamics: options and conflicts 98 The ‘Knowledge Flower’ 99 Bundling of knowledge forms within knowledge domains – steps to operationalize the conceptual framework 105 Policy processes in the three governing orders 149 Meta governing 152 Second order governing 153 First order governing 155 Agenda setting/institutional arrangement 2004 170 Draft plan production 2004–March 2006 171 Consultation on the draft plan March 2006–July 2007 172 Proposed changes to the final plan July 2007–9 173 Network analysis: planning arena 174 Institutional arrangements for the SEA February 2004 175 Scoping (February–September 2004) and preparation of environmental report June 2004–March 2006 176 Representations at the examination in public on the SEA April–July 177 SEA review as part of proposed changes 2008–9 178 Actors in the Master Plan adaptation process 2006 179 Network of relations centred on the Province Planning Department 180 Actors in the Master plan 2003 process 181 Master plan 2006: institutional setting phase 182 Actor mapping for SEA and planning 183 Intensity of actor linking in SEA and planning 184
xvi List of figures and tables
Tables 1.1 Summary of conceptualization of governance and knowledge in achieving urban sustainability 3.1 Modes and rules of governance 3.2 Attributes of actors and governance modes
25 60 61
Rob Atkinson is a Professor in the Cities Research Centre, Faculty of the Environment and Technology, University of the West of England. His research focuses on cross-national work on urban regeneration, governance, community participation in urban regeneration partnerships, urban social exclusion and European urban and spatial policy. He is the editor of the journal Urban Research and Practice and a member of the executive board of the European Urban Research Association (EURA). Alessandro Balducci is Professor of Urban and Territorial Policies at the Politecnico di Milano. He gained his PhD in planning and public policies at IUAV (Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia) and his MA in Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano Faculty of Architecture. He was previously Director of the Dipartimento di Architettura e Pianificazione and Senior Vice President of AESOP (Association of the European Schools of Planning), and a member of the executive committee of EURA. Claudio Calvaresi is Professor of Urban Management and Public Policy at the Politecnico di Milano and has a PhD in Urban Planning, Università di Chieti and MA in Urban Planning, IUAV. His specialisations include strategic planning, citizen participation and community involvement in public policy design and implementation, programmes for urban regeneration and sustainability. Kara Davies is a PhD student in the Faculty of Environment and Technology, University of the West of England, Bristol. She was a member of the GFORS research team. Bas Denters is Professor in Urban Policy and Politics at the School of Business, Public Administration and Technology of the University of Twente (Enschede, the Netherlands). Furthermore, he is Director of the Institute for Decentralised Governance (INDEGO) and Scientific Director of KISS (KennisInstituut Stedelijke Samenleving), and is a member of the executive board of EURA. Valeria Fedeli has a PhD in Regional Planning and is a researcher and lecturer in the Dipartimento di Architettura e Pianificazione, Politecnico di Milano. She was a member of the GFORS research team.
xviii Contributors Hubert Heinelt has a PhD in political science and holds the chair for public administration, public policy and urban studies at the Institute of Political Science at Darmstadt University of Technology. He has long-standing research experience in local politics (e.g. involvement in the UDITE Leadership Study) and is a member of the executive board of EURA. Gerhard Held is currently a freelance journalist working for Die WELT a Privatdozent at the Technische Universität Berlin. His areas of research include theories of space and society, discourse analysis, local governance systems, and regional comparative studies in the Europe-Mediterranean area. He previously worked at the IRS in Erkner and was a member of the GFORS team. Stephen Jeffares gained his PhD at the University of Birmingham. He previously worked in the Cities Research Centre at the University of the West of England and is currently RCUK Research Fellow, School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham, UK. His research focuses on the role of ideas in the policy process, developments in European urban governance, application of political discourse theory in public administration and the democracy in partnerships and networks. Pieter-Jan Klok is Assistant Professor in Policy Analysis at the School of Business, Public Administration and Technology of the University of Twente. He has conducted research in the field of environmental policy, mainly on the effectiveness of different policy instruments and institutional changes in Dutch Local Government. Current research topics are institutional changes in local governance, including community involvement and political leadership. Tanja Kopp-Malek is a political scientist who previously worked at the Darmstadt University of Technology. Her research interests include the European Union and learning theories. She was a member of the GFORS research team. Sonja Löber is a research assistant at the Institute for Political Science at Darmstadt University of Technology. She is currently working on a PhD thesis on r eflexive knowledge. Martin Lund-Iversen is a researcher/political scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research. His key areas of interest are Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment and land use planning. He has done a contextual evaluation in a Norwegian setting of an early proposal for the 2001/42/EC directive. Ulf Matthiesen is Professor of European Ethnology at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He was previously also head of the research department 2 ‘Knowledge Milieus and Spatial Structures’ at the IRS in Erkner (near Berlin). Since 1999, his research and teaching efforts have focused on the coevolution of space and knowledge.
Contributors xix Frank Nullmeier is Professor for Theory of the Welfare State at the University of Bremen. His research interests include theories of the welfare state, social policy and political theory and the micro-analysis of decision-making processes. He has published widely on these issues. He was an advisor to the GFORS project. Carolina Pacchi works in the Dipartimento di Architettura e Pianificazione, Politecnico di Milano. She holds a PhD in Urban Planning and is a lecturer in Urban Governance at Politecnico di Milano. Her research interests include public participation and local governance in urban policies and in strategies towards sustainability. Eva Reisinger was previously a research assistant at the IRS Erkner. Her research interests include political representation and gender issues. She was a member of the GFORS research team. Steffen Schneider is a research assistant in the excellence cluster ‘Staatlichkeit im Wandel’ at the University of Bremen. His research interests include the changing nature of statehood. Georgios Terizakis is working in the unit for the science-practice cooperation of the Centre of Research Excellence URBAN RESEARCH at Darmstadt University of Technology and coordinated the GFORS project. Karsten Zimmermann is Senior Social Scientist at the Institute for Political Science and LOEWE Centre of Research Excellence URBAN RESEARCH at Darmstadt University of Technology. Zimmermann is currently involved in research on local governance, collective learning and planning theory.
EU European Union SDS Sustainable Development Strategy EP European Parliament SEA Strategic Environmental Assessment KD Knowledge Design EAP Environmental Action Programme PM Particulate Matter WHO World Health Organization KP Kyoto Protocol EIA Environmental Impact Assessment AR Assessment Report IAD Institutional Analysis and Development SOG Second Order Governing KS KnowledgeScapes IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change TZ Trading Zones ZNT Zone of Knowledge Transactions KC Knowledge Cultures GA Governance Arrangements CDA Critical Disclose Analysis SSP Strategic Spatial Planning RSS Regional Spatial Strategy RA Regional Assembly ETS Emission Trading Scheme
Introduction Governance, knowledge and sustainability – an introduction and overview Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann The chapters that make up this book are based on research carried out as part of the Governance for Sustainability (GFORS) research project, a three-year project financed by the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Development. The objective of GFORS was to develop an innovative analytical model for the study of governance for sustainability with a particular emphasis on how knowledge was drawn upon and utilized in practice in the so-called knowledge society. The point of reference from which our research began is what might be referred to as an ‘epistemological deficit’ or ‘the problem of ignorance’ which becomes most obvious in situations in which decisions are taken against a background of ‘risk’. These issues are particularly important for policies addressing the environment and sustainability where levels of uncertainty and disagreements over how to formulate and implement policy are particularly high. Often judgements are not made on the basis of empirical (hard) facts but by the use of foresight studies, scenarios, prognoses and models. These forms of knowledge are always insecure, incomplete and provisional. Despite the fact that the growing relevance of various types of knowledge and nonknowledge in contemporary societies is applicable to all policy fields, its significance is particularly high in the field of environmental politics. Environmental politics is surrounded by an extensive knowledge infrastructure (and related epistemic communities, see Haas 1990) that produces a huge body of technical and scientific expertise, shapes discourses on sustainability and influences political decisions. Furthermore, the environmental policy arena provides fertile ground for the investigation of new governance arrangements and emerging architectures of knowledge. What has often been observed in environmental decision making is the marked gap between expert knowledge, scientific knowledge and technical knowledge on the one side and local or everyday knowledge on the other. It has been suggested that this gap may be closed by the development of decentralized and participatory procedures associated with particular modes of governance (e.g. network modes and civil society involvement). For instance Fischer has defined one variant of these procedures for creating and accessing local knowledge as participatory inquiry (Fischer 2000: ch. 11). Participatory inquiry describes the various processes of creating and circulating previously unformulated knowledge. Planning theory and practice offer us a huge variety of instruments and procedures for the implementation of participatory
2 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann inquiry. Potentially, it opens up new methods for the creation and integration of new forms of non-scientific technical or environmental knowledge into both public discourse and the decision-making process. Indeed it has been argued that these new forms of knowledge may actually improve the policies that result; for instance Fischer (2000: 222) has argued: ‘Today, deliberative participation is not only seen as a normative requirement for a democratic society but serves increasingly as a counter to the uncertainties of science’. Thus the sustainability issue provides an ideal testing ground for examining the construction of and the interrelationships and interactions between governance arrangements and knowledge. Starting from this position we sought to systematically investigate the interaction of governance arrangements and knowledge and analyse the problem solving capacities of specific arrangements/arenas with reference to sustainability. The fundamental objective of the project therefore was: how does the concrete institutionalization and practical enactment of certain governance modes impact upon the effectiveness and legitimacy of policies aimed at sustainability objectives by using and developing different types of knowledge? The recent debate on emerging knowledge societies does not leave the debate on sustainability untouched. Under new contextual conditions of knowledge societies and diminishing validity claims of knowledge our understanding of sustainability differs from the meaning of the term as explicated in the Brundtland Report and the related discussion. Most approaches that seek to measure sustainability are based on substantive criteria that relate to the substance of the policy programmes. From this perspective the focus tends to be on the ultimate effects and outcomes of implemented policies and these effects are usually measured using a fixed catalogue of indicators. We have doubts about this approach for two reasons: 1 Catalogues of indicators tend to neglect contextual effects and issues. In our view sustainability is not an absolute, but a relative concept that cannot be fully analysed outside a particular governance context or dissociated from its political, social, economic and wider socio-spatial context. In particular, sustainability is highly dependent on local knowledge. Due to its ‘semantic openness’ (Lafferty 2004) the notion of sustainability itself, if it is not to be transformed into a fixed list of measurable indicators that purport to be universally valid, seems to have contextual implications and is open to a variety of, potentially, contradictory perspectives. This semantic openness has lead to a never-ending dispute about the meaning of the concept which, again, can be analysed from the perspective of the political use of knowledge. 2 Indicator-based approaches to sustainable development are unable to fully measure and take into account interdependence, thus they fail to provide strategic guidance for policy integration. This is why we draw on the notion of reflective knowledge. As we have pointed out above and argue in greater depth in Chapters 2, 5 and 6 reflective knowledge develops out of the interaction between and perceived interdependence of various forms of knowledge situated in particular socio-spatial contexts, and represents the creative interaction of and interdependency between these knowledge forms within a certain context.
Introduction 3 Furthermore, the literature on sustainability offers an alternative to a measure based on expected economic, social and ecological effects that we have sought to combine with our concepts of governance and knowledge. In a general and widely accepted understanding sustainability has to do with environmental, economic and social concerns. Lafferty (2004) has conceptualized sustainability as an issue of policy integration and inter-sectoral coordination. Moreover it implies a concern for longterm dynamics or a long-term vision. Therefore, we conceived sustainability as a form of inter-sectoral coordination and inter-temporal integration. Nevertheless the question remains: How might a notion of policy integration be operationalized? Lafferty suggests three criteria for assessing the integration of policies: • • •
comprehensiveness, aggregation and consistency
(Lafferty 2004: 200–1).
For us these three criteria could be used to integrate the knowledge dimension into the context of sustainability because they all share a strong cognitive dimension. However, while there is a considerable quantity of empirical work on changing governance arrangements and institutional capacity building for sustainable development we are of the view that the knowledge dimension is largely absent from the debate on sustainability. Our case studies as well the theoretical frame are therefore situated in the triangle of knowledge, governance and sustainability. However, we do not presume that there are clear and unidirectional causalities. None of our three categories can be considered to be stable. The contested interpretation of what may be termed sustainable, or not, is embedded in societal and political systems of rules which are supposed to be affected by the discourse on sustainability – at least in the long run. The substance of the concept of sustainability, as well as societal rules, is subject to forms of knowledge and practices of knowing. Concrete actions as well as normative evaluations of measures (as well as of existing governance arrangements) are based on knowledge. The identification of a certain sustainability problem such as climate change or particulate matter is regularly connected to an idea of the appropriate governance arrangement (market-based, hierarchical or participatory) deemed necessary to (re)solve it. Knowledge
Figure 0.1 Basic conceptual triangle of GFORS.
4 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann Within this mix of governance arrangements and knowledge the focus on sustainability raised series theoretical, political and policy issues; not least because sustainability is an essentially contested notion in theoretical, policy and practice terms. Increasingly the notion of sustainability has ceased to simply refer to the environmental dimension and has moved to a much more complex approach that seeks to take into account environmental, economic and social dimensions in an integrated manner. However, we need to recognize that this has not been a smooth apolitical process; the notion of sustainability is frequently mobilized by actors, as they seek to achieve their own ends, to justify contradictory policy measures and to produce competing problem definitions. From our perspective these struggles are seen as the product of knowledge restrictions, resulting from specialized perspectives (e.g. as a result of particular expert or professional locations) and conflicts between different forms of descriptive and normative knowledge. These differences, as well as the interplay between scientific and public (or lay) problem perceptions with regard to particular environmental problems, can be characterized as a form of knowledge conflict. Such knowledge conflicts originate in disagreements between experts, politicians and laypersons in their assessment of the relevance of different forms of knowledge to particular problems and their resolution. On the other hand, the vagueness and different understandings of what is meant by sustainability can be seen as an advantage because it has the potential to open up a fresh terrain in which new discourses can be developed through which a commonly agreed paradigm for joint action can be reached. In the remainder of this chapter we introduce the reader to the key themes and concepts that structured our research. The research began from two interrelated sets of questions: 1 Forms of Governance: Which governance forms and their arrangements facilitate exchanges and flows of knowledge? What kind of governance forms encourages mutual learning between individuals as well as within and between organizations? Which governance forms seem, in this respect, to be most appropriate for policy learning that supports sustainable development? 2 Forms of Knowledge: Which knowledge forms are essential to governance for sustainability? Which forms of knowledge are dominant and which forms are missing within successful or unsuccessful governance arrangements for sustainability? What different forms of knowledge need to be combined for the development of successful governance and institutional arrangements and what is the relative influence of each? Can a certain form of reflexivity (reflective knowledge) be identified as influential? Drawing on these questions we set out to identify, investigate and analyse the interaction, and potential synergies, between governance modes (or more correctly particular empirical combinations of those modes which we have termed governance arrangements) and different forms of knowledge (these issues are discussed in more detail in Chapters 2 and 5). The governance modes we identified were the well-established notions of hierarchies, markets and two types of networks which
Introduction 5 we argued only existed empirically in particular combinations (what we term with our more discursive understanding of governance as governance arrangements). Here we begin from the assumption that a democratic polity should not be conceived in terms of one single ‘regime’ but instead ‘as a composite articulation of “partial regimes”’. This is because any polity consists of a complex architecture of institutions with more than one form of interest articulation and intermediation as well as a range of binding decision-making processes. The ‘core sector’ of the political system is embedded in various sectors of interest intermediation that function according to different political modes of governance and rules of operation. With regard to the knowledge forms that interact in these governance arrangements we identified various knowledge forms such as knowledge of everyday life, expert knowledge and reflective knowledge, which will be explained in detail in Chapter 5. We conceived the different knowledge forms as having, to varying degrees, institutional/organizational bases that led to them being more or less clearly defined and in some cases accredited by the state and/or professional bodies. As such these forms of knowledge could be drawn upon and articulated by actors in specific situations to achieve certain ends in relation to particular issues/problems. On the other hand we conceived everyday life knowledge as having a transversal and mediating role. Knowledge of everyday life (as proposed by Alfred Schütz) is present in all forms of knowledge serving as a resource of general reference and as a starting point of knowledge differentiation. Reflective knowledge is a product of learning and evaluating, of knowledge-in-action coupling and re-coupling the whole process of knowledge utilization involving other knowledge forms. As a kind of meta-knowledge reflective knowledge enables the development of forms of self-description of the various knowledge forms and governance arrangements. Of course these different forms (or ideal types) of knowledge do not exist in their ‘pure form’, empirically they only exist in particular combinations or ‘bundles of knowledge’. These ‘bundles of knowledge’ are created and articulated through forms of interaction, in particular through ‘hard networks’, that we term Knowledge Networks, and ‘soft networks’, which we term Knowledge Milieus and Knowledge Communities and associated Knowledge Cultures (these concepts are discussed in more depth in Chapters 2 and 5). Utilizing these concepts we have described and analysed the different empirical manifestations, and the associated combinations of forms of knowledge, that materialize from these interactions. We use the term KnowledgeScapes to describe the particular socio-spatial and institutional topographies that develop as a result of these interactions (see chapters 2 and 5 for more detail). It is important to emphasize that combinations of KnowledgeScapes and governance arrangements only exist within particular spatial contexts and have to be constructed, albeit by a mixture of design, chance and serendipity. The interaction of governance arrangements and KnowledgeScapes, along with more general societal structuring processes, create an action arena that in turn structures and facilitates the creation of action situations within which organizations and individual actors operate to produce actions/outputs, one of which may be the creation of ‘reflective knowledge’.
6 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann On this basis we set out to identify and understand the different empirical manifestations, in their particular combinations, of governance arrangements and KnowledgeScapes (and associated action arenas and action situations) and how they could contribute to sustainability. In doing this we sought to understand if particular governance arrangements and KnowledgeScapes were more, or less, conducive to the interaction of different knowledge forms (or knowledge bundles) that facilitated the production of what we have termed ‘reflective knowledge’ in weak and strong forms. We recognized that if we were to achieve this aim GFORS needed to develop a new, integrated and innovative theoretical and methodological framework that could be utilized to identify a hypothetical range of governance arrangements and different forms of knowledge. In order to do this, building on existing work, we created theoretical typologies of governance modes and sought to identify the associated rules that governed their operation and the associated attributes of actors. We then used these to generate hypotheses that structured our empirical research. The resulting framework was then used to analyse how, if at all, these different forms of knowledge interacted in the context of particular governance arrangements and how they are accompanied by ‘reflective knowledge’. We then sought to assess the degree to which the mix of different knowledge forms and governance arrangements contributed to a more integrated, effective and legitimate understanding of sustainability. One of the most innovative aspects of the research was that it brought together two bodies of academic knowledge that have, until now, largely existed in isolation from one another – political science research on governance and sociological (or perhaps more accurately social constructivist) research on knowledge forms and their interaction. The integration of these two approaches and the development of an associated methodological framework provided the basis for the subsequent empirical research. Academics from nine countries participated in the project and each national team carried out at least two in-depth national case studies making a total of eighteen case studies. All of the cases studies employed a common theoretical and methodological framework (discussed in Chapter 3 and Part A) which as well as informing the concerted investigation of the national cases also provided the basis for a rigorous and in-depth comparative analysis. Chapter 3 and Part A of the book describe the innovative theoretical and methodological framework development as part of the project while the chapters in Part B contain comparative reflections on cross-cutting themes that have been identified during the empirical research. A key element of the ongoing case study research was for the project team as a whole to engage in ongoing reflection on their research by sharing information and data with the other national teams thereby facilitating comparative reflection. To support this aim individuals’ from the different national teams were organized into cross-cutting teams to share data and reflect on particular themes during the second and third years of the research. This then allowed for a systematic and sustained process of reflection and comparative assessment vis-à-vis the crosscutting themes. Given this the environmental political field provided particularly fertile ground for us to empirically test our new model through case studies examining European
Introduction 7 Union (EU) policies in the fields of air pollution control and environmental planning and their implementation at domestic level. These fields were selected for three reasons: 1 because they involve different and often complex forms of governance in a multi-level context (from the EU down to the local) that would enable us to identify and analyse the positive interactions, and potential tensions between particular governance arrangements; 2 because a range of different forms of knowledge are increasingly brought into contact, and arguably dialogue, with one another in these fields at different spatial and governmental levels to create particular KnowledgeScapes; 3 they are central to the sustainability agenda on all levels of policy making. Taken together this allowed us to investigate the interaction between different governance arrangements, KnowledgeScapes and sustainable development. In order to achieve this benchmark indicators were identified that the research teams then used to assess the effectiveness of current political, economic, administrative and organizational processes and institutional settings to develop economically, socially and environmentally sustainable policies. These crucial insights, emerging through our innovative conceptual work, allowed us to provide a different and more nuanced understanding of policy outcomes. Drawing upon our discussion of the impact of knowledge on problem construction and solving, policy outcomes were understood as aggregated effects of governance and knowledge in the context of how to address sustainability within particular regional and local situations. Sustainability, from this position, is thus more about experience-based learning processes and their implications for causal assumptions, while institutional change and the generation of new knowledge are more concerned with causes and effects. Given this our view is that policies developed to promote sustainability will be partial and ineffective unless they effectively incorporate a range of knowledge forms. The empirical case studies focused on how this does, or does not, occur and sought to operationalize and investigate the content of the conceptual framework. Moreover, with regard to those actors, directly and indirectly, involved our theoretical framework suggested that evaluative processes have the potential to produce learning and reflective knowledge which in turn can result in institutional change and changes in the ‘attributes of the physical world’, the ‘attributes of the community’ and the ‘rules-in-use’ – at least in the perceptions of and knowledge about them. The case studies investigated the extent to which this actually took place and the implications of this work for decision-makers are highly significant and multifaceted. In the following we briefly outline the contents of each chapter and its key themes, providing an introduction to the book as whole and a guide that will allow readers to use particular chapters that reflect their interests. In Chapter 1 Zimmermann, Klok and Denters focus on the link between sustainability and knowledge, pointing out that over the last decade or so both sustainability and knowledge have undergone quite radical changes in the way(s) they are defined,
8 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann understood and utilized in theoretical, political and policy terms. The chapter first of all reviews the development of sustainability in EU environmental policies and how it has moved from the margins of EU policy to occupy a more central position in current debates. They also point out that new discourses have emerged that seek to focus on sustainable development not simply in outputs terms but also on processes that lead to (or facilitate) sustainable development. In the course of this discussion they introduce the process-based definition of sustainability used by GFORS. In parallel to these developments they also note how the debates around knowledge have become increasingly fragmented with the recognition of the importance of a range of different knowledge forms. The two issues have been increasingly linked by the emphasis on the need for sustainability (and policy more generally) to be informed by evidence (i.e. knowledge in its various forms). Chapter 2 contains a substantive and thorough discussion by Löber of the three Environmental Policy Instruments (EPI) that were the focus of the case study research carried out by GFORS. The three EPIs: were Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), air pollution control (particulate matter – in particular the control of PM10) and the EUs emissions trading system (ETS). Löber places these three EPIs in the more general context of the development of a new generation of what are often described as New Environmental Policy Instruments. In addition she analyses and makes clear the role of knowledge in the development and design of the three EPIs, as well as showing how particular ‘knowledge choices’ were important for the way in which each EPI policy instrument emerged over a, sometimes lengthy, period of time. With Chapter 3 we move to the core of the theoretical framework developed by GFORS and which structured the subsequent methodological development of the project and the case studies. Heinelt et al. focus on and develop an in-depth theoretical analysis of the relationship between governance and knowledge. They expand upon, in much greater depth, themes we have already introduced the reader to earlier in this chapter. After an initial discussion of governance theories and their development they draw upon, and further develop, the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework to provide new insights into governance, this work provided a key part of the GFORS theoretical framework. These conceptual developments are then related to knowledge, different forms of knowledge and their use, in particular to the concept of KnowledgeScapes as specific socio-spatial formations that both provide access to forms of knowledge and structure which particular forms of knowledge are present. It is the interaction between governance arrangements and a particular KnowledgeScape that lies at the heart of the theoretical and empirical work of the GFORS project and its understanding of how particular policies were developed and implemented at local level. With Chapter 4 we move more directly to a consideration of the impact of knowledge on policy, or what Nullmeier, Kopp-Malek and Schneider refer to as the ‘cognitive turn’ and locate GFORS in relation to these developments. In particular they seek to demonstrate how a constructive perspective can useful develop rational and institutionalist approaches by emphasizing the constitutive role of knowledge and the role of power and discourse(s) in structuring how knowledge is drawn upon
Introduction 9 and used. This is related to the concept of KnowledgeScapes and their structuring effects on knowledge, its presence and use in particular socio-spatial contexts. Matthiesen and Reisinger focus on a particular aspect of KnowledgeScapes in Chapter 5. Here they discuss the crucial role of ‘Zones of Knowledge Transactions’. They are particularly concerned to analyse how knowledge, given its increasingly important role in contemporary (knowledge) societies, has become a key resource, crucial catalyst and reflective medium. They focus on and analyse the growing importance of knowledge transactions and knowledge arenas in particular spatial contexts and the organizations and institutions through which these exchanges take place (or in some instances do not take place) – this is the terrain of the KnowledgeScape. To support their analysis they develop a sophisticated typology of knowledge forms and seek to understand their interaction. The authors show how the zone of knowledge transactions is characterized by a dynamic interplay between actors, institutional rule systems, KnowledgeScapes and organizations and that this casts new light on transfer processes between governing and knowledge. In Chapter 6 Atkinson, Held and Jeffares draw out the implications of an approach based on discourse and narrative analytical forms for the understanding of governance, knowledge, policy and policy making. They review developments in thinking related to the ‘discursive turn’ and tease out the implications of different forms of discourse and narrative analysis for the understanding of governance, knowledge and policy, suggesting that discourse has a structuring effect on how governance forms develop, knowledge is utilized and policy is drawn up. These processes are not seen as neutral processes, but as embedded within power relationships and competing interests. Zimmermann, Balducci and Calvaresi focus on the issue of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and sustainability in Chapter 7, arguing that SEA suffers from certain deficiencies that need to be rectified if it is to be an effective tool for assessing sustainability. They argue that these deficiencies have their origins in its reliance on a rational comprehensive approach and can be addressed by drawing on insights from recent developments in thinking on strategic spatial planning. This means placing a much greater emphasis on the recognition of the presence of competing discourses, the importance of interaction between planners and the public and the provisional nature of much knowledge. They propose a more deliberative and collaborative approach to governance, policy and SEA in particular. By doing this they are able to relate SEA to a wider range of recent debates that go far beyond spatial planning that highlight important changes in contemporary societies. In Chapter 8 Heinelt and Löber direct out attention to what has become known as the ‘implementation deficit’, a topic that has been of interest to policy analysts since the at least the 1970s. They point to the need, on the part of those formulating and designing policies at a higher level, to take into account the motives of those responsible for implementation if it is to be successful. Moreover, they highlight how different interests are able to draw upon and mobilize different (or sometimes even the same) forms of knowledge to support their objectives. They
10 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann do this by using one the GFORS case studies about the location of a power plant in Großkrotzenburg in Germany. Finally in Chapter 9 Pacchi, Davies, Fedeli and Lund-Iversen consider how the contribution of thinking on policy networks can enhance our understanding of SEA in particular and policy more generally. They point to limitations of existing theories of policy networks and suggest ways in which they may be remedied in order to make the network approach a more effective tool for the understanding of policy. They point to the importance of considering policy issues across space and time and of the need to acknowledge that the actors involved in networks are not unitary subjects bearing a single indivisible set of interests in perpetuity, indeed they suggest that they are being constituted and reconstituted by the very process of participating in networks. By taking these issues on board they argue network theory has the potential to become a more useful tool for understanding policy and its development. One final point should be made, as will be apparent from the contents lists a number of people were responsible for writing the chapters in this book, in addition there were also an even larger number of people from the nine participating countries who were involved in the GFORS project and we would like to express our thanks to all those who took part in the project.
References Fischer, F. (2000) Citizens, Experts, and the Environment. The Politics of Local Knowledge. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Lafferty, W. M. (2004) ‘From environmental protection to sustainable development: the challenge of decoupling through sectoral integration, in Lafferty, W. M. (ed.) Governance for sustainable development, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
1 Sustainability and knowledge European environmental policy and the challenge of sustainability in a multilevel system Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok
1.1 Introduction Knowledge, innovation and learning have recently become keywords in the wider discussion on sustainable development (SD) in Europe (O’Toole 2004: 45; Voß et al. 2006; Grunwald 2004 and 2007; Newig et al. 2008). The growing significance of knowledge and learning as an issue of sustainability and environmental politics can seamlessly be related to the wider rhetoric of crisis on the current state of postmodern knowledge societies in the 1990s (Willke 2002). But besides very general societal trends the knowledge turn also follows an internal logic of change in the concept of sustainability itself (Grunwald 2004; Lafferty 2004b). In a nutshell this change can be described by the gradual shift from a discussion on limits to growth to a focus on more integrated and dynamic patterns of SD that has also characterized the sustainability strategy of the European Commission since the late 1990s and became visible in the revised Gothenburg Strategy (CEC 2005). Previous strategies of SD were based on the assumption of systemic equilibriums which have to be kept stable by under-running critical threshold values. Newig et al. state that: It was assumed that sustainability goals can be defined and operationalized and that one could then evaluate options and find the best way in which to put ‘it’ in place. (Newig et al. 2008: viii) This approach was accompanied by regulative patterns in environmental politics. Since then the instruments and governance mechanisms of environmental policies have changed and now show more interactive and dynamic patterns of governance for sustainability. Changing governance always implies change of institutional systems of rule as well as governance cultures. The identification and evaluation of direct effects of certain measures on ecological systems and the determination of threshold values have partly been replaced by a focus on the underlying societal dynamics of patterns of consumption and social reproduction which prevent SD. Sustainability is more than ever considered to be a dynamic and multidimensional
12 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok concept questioning basic values of western capitalist societies and calling for sociotechnical transitions (Newig et al. 2008). Here regulative instruments clearly reveal limits and are increasingly ruled out by or combined with reflexive, self-regulative and market-based governance mechanisms (Jordan et al. 2003; Cashore 2002; Heinelt et al. 2001; Lenschow 2001b). What has been widely neglected is that new steering mechanisms usually imply changes concerning the knowledge underlying action and decision-making in the respective policy fields. A knowledge-based approach to sustainability in a European context starts here because an integrated review of reflexive governance innovations helps to shift the debate about the usefulness of the concept of sustainability from immediate outcomes to more hidden process innovations and ways of structuring and handling problems. (Voß et al. 2006) It is our contention that these ways of structuring and handling problems are mostly based on the creation of usable knowledge (Fischer 2000, following Cohen and Lindblom 1978), socially robust knowledge (Gibbons et al. 2001) and reflective knowledge (Matthiesen 2005, 2006). These types of knowledge have one thing in common: they are the product of interactive accomplishments and they are not necessarily scientific in a pure sense. The generation of knowledge for SD was considered to be the domain of science. This hegemony of science is no longer unquestioned particularly in the field of sustainability (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1993). Research on local SD focussed on many objects such as institutions, networkgovernance, leadership and social capital (Evans et al. 2006; Rydin and Holman 2004). We wish to add a further perspective and direct attention to the knowledge base of sustainability and the corresponding institutional arrangements regulating the use of, and access to, knowledge. Sustainability is more about the impact of experience-based learning processes on causal assumptions, institutional change and the generation of new knowledge about cause and effects. One way to explain this issue might be to gain a better understanding of the interaction of governance and knowledge for developing more sustainable policies. Without overemphasizing the dimension of knowledge too much we can say that a positive example of SD requires a comprehensive knowledge base on how time, space, actors and issues are related to the background of sustainability goals (Lafferty, 2004: 201; see also Grunwald 2007). Policies developed to promote sustainability will be partial and ineffective unless they effectively incorporate a range of forms of knowledge, especially that bridging the gap between layperson (local knowledge) and expert knowledge (O’Toole 2004; Evans et al. 2006). Based on these assumptions it is the goal of this chapter to reflect on the relationship between various forms of knowledge and the concept of sustainability in a context where environmental policies are strongly shaped by European politics. The growing influence of the European level of environmental policy making and sustainability calls for a reflection on sustainability in a multilevel system of governance (Lenschow 2001b; Baker 1997).
Sustainability and knowledge 13 We will therefore briefly address the development of the European sustainability agenda in the last 20 years that found also its way into the European Urban Agenda. The basic argument we want to make in this chapter is to indicate the different ‘forms’ of knowledge that have to be present or used in a policy in order for it to be called ‘sustainable’. These ‘forms’ do not only reflect a basic typology of knowledge (expert knowledge, everyday knowledge), but also the content or object of these types in terms of the time, space, actors and issue elements reflected in our conceptualization of sustainability. In the next step we reflect about the types of institutional settings that are likely to either facilitate or hamper the inclusion of these different forms of knowledge into an action arena where policies are formed and their subsequent use inside this arena, for sustainability will only be a likely outcome if different forms of knowledge (type/content combinations on time, space, actors and issues) are in the end reflected in the policy decisions made by the different actors in the arena. Against this background, we consider procedures following the European directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to be first and foremost formal frameworks for the production of policy-relevant knowledge (Richardson 2005: 347).
1.2 Sustainability in European environmental policies: capturing a multifaceted concept Every commitment to SD has to deal with the obvious weaknesses of definitions of sustainability and the vagueness of the concept (Newig et al. 2008: viii). We can begin a definition of (or an approximation to) sustainability by following the widely shared opinion that SD may be characterized by fulfilling three basic challenges: physical sustainability, inter- and intra-generational equity and global equity (Lafferty 2004a: 14). Nevertheless, these broadly accepted criteria do not remove the fact that consideration of what is sustainable (or not) is contested and a question of meaning and interpretation (Dryzek 1997: 124). One of the major ambiguities is pointed out by Lafferty: The goal of SD thus presupposes a transition that is on the one hand strongly value-laden and purposeful, while on the other being open, interactive and contextually adaptable. (Lafferty 2004a) Lafferty’s statement underlines two important aspects. First: Sustainability is about the purposeful transition of goals, behaviour, institutions and knowledge. Second: The contradiction of clear value and purpose on the one hand, and an interactive and open approach points to processes of arguing about what sustainability is about in a local or global context. Indeed, the notion of sustainability itself is frequently used to justify contradictory policy measures and competing problem definitions (Jachtenfuchs 1997). We conclude, therefore, that starting from general and broad principles like generational and global equity is one option; another could be to rely on procedural
14 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok criteria shaping and transforming general principles in concrete episodes of policy making and planning (Simon 1976).1 As several contributions have shown, goals of sustainability cannot be determined once and for all (Heinelt et al. 2001: 64). This simple reflection leads to the conclusion that questions of sustainability are not only related to results but also to procedures with a high degree of reflexivity and reversibility (Voß et al. 2006). One might object that, although a procedural approach is a realistic perspective, this leaves the substance of the concept vague as the results are merely left to the interactions and negotiations of affected actors (Dryzek 1995: 233). The final results may be far removed from initial understandings of sustainability. However, the vagueness and contested understandings of what is meant by sustainability can also be seen as a source for innovation because it can open up discourses by which a commonly agreed paradigm for joint action is achievable. This ambiguity is the basis for collective learning processes, i.e. the correction of constructions about cause and effects, the questioning of belief systems and knowledge claims and the detection of incoherent and inconsistent argumentations. In this sense, sustainability is about changes in frames of reference of actors and organizations. Given the apparent weaknesses of substantial definitions of sustainability, the shortcomings of a procedural understanding are acceptable not least because potentials for reflectivity and learning are stressed. We are less concerned with the evaluation of certain policy outcomes than with innovations in procedures and on the question whether institutional arrangements allow reversibility and experimental action to better integrate and coordinate the three dimensions of sustainability. Our understanding of sustainability is therefore influenced by the idea of environmental policy integration (Lafferty and Hovden 2003: 3). Environmental policy integration (EPI) is the basic rationale and aspiration of the European strategy for sustainability and traces can be found in many European environmental policy initiatives (CEC 2001; Council of the European Union 2006; Jordan et al. 2003; Lenschow 2001a). Sustainable development certainly has a European dimension. Sustainability has been a European issue since the early 1990s but only became influential incrementally in European politics (Baker 1997; Liberatore 1997; Lenschow 2001b). In the same year when the Brundlandt report was published (1987), the principles of environmental policy integration and cross-sectional environmental protection became visible in the Single European Act (Lenschow 2001b: 9). The Fourth Environmental Action Programme (1987–92) marked a change from a reactive approach (treating visible damage) to cross-sectional and cross-media environmental protection (Liberatore 1997: 108). The Fifth Environmental Action Programme, titled ‘Towards Sustainability: A European Community programme of Policy and Action in Relation to the Environment and Sustainable Environment’ from 1992 was considered to explicitly fulfil sustainability goals (Baker 1997: 93). Environmental protection was formally established in 1993 in the treaty of Maastricht but it took another four years before sustainability was explicitly anchored in the Treaty of Amsterdam. Article 6 of the Treaty states that, ‘Environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and
Sustainability and knowledge 15 implementation of the Community policies and activities referred to in Article 3, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development’ (CEC 1997). Subsequently, sustainability and environmental policy integration became two sides of the same coin. Particularly in what is known as the Cardiff process,2 the European Council urged different sections of the Commission to integrate environmental considerations into their respective activities in order to provide for a more coherent policy (Lafferty and Hovden 2003; Lenschow 2001b). ‘Cardiff’ became a metaphor for the integration of environmental concerns in sectoral policies such as energy, transport or agriculture (Lenschow 2001a). The importance of sustainability and policy integration is reaffirmed in the Sixth Environmental Action Programme which was adopted by the council and the parliament in 2002. The action programme ‘shall form a basis for the environmental dimension of the European Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) and contribute to the integration of environmental concerns into all Community policies, inter alia by setting out environmental priorities for the Strategy’ (European Commission 2002: 3). Instruments such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are considered to be the main means to bring this principle into practice. The European sustainability agenda received a strong impulse in 2001 when the European Council adopted the EU SDS (CEC 2001). In what is known as the Gothenburg Agenda (2001) the sustainability goals were fixed and should be treated on equal terms with the Lisbon agenda. The Gothenburg Agenda addressed four major issues: climate change, transport, health and natural resources and commitment to global environmental protection (ibid.). The Commission bundles together in the SDS a mélange of directives, council declarations and programmatic documents (thematic strategies, green books etc.). Jachtenfuchs noted in the late 1990s that sustainability was instrumentalized for integrating contradictory political goals such as competitiveness and environmental protection (Jachtenfuchs 1997). It seems that besides frank commitments to more coherence and cross sectional integration, the Directorate-General for the Environment (DG Environment) alone carries the full burden for promoting sustainability. A further challenge addressed in the revised form of the SDS (CEC 2005) is the promotion of sustainability in the European multilevel context. Responsibilities for sustainable policies are dispersed between various scales and considerable responsibilities lies within the member states. Therefore, EPI has a vertical and horizontal dimension. Although the revised agenda of 2005 puts more emphasis on coordination with member states’ sustainability strategies the multilevel character of the European Union continues to act as an obstacle in this process. This holds true with respect to the local level. Despite global, European and national efforts towards SD, sustainability is equally a local issue (Evans et al. 2006) and this is also acknowledged by the Commission. Competencies are reduced but many directives directly affect local politics. More recently, the Commission has published an updated review of the SDS (CEC 2009a) arguing that in terms of SDS progress has been made in several areas (e.g. climate change and energy, sustainable
16 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok transport, conservation of natural resources). However, the document does accept that there is something of a ‘disjunction’ between the Lisbon Strategy and SDS that requires ‘better coordination and linkage between the policy areas covered by the Strategies and their follow-up’ (ibid.: 14). The Thematic Strategy for the Urban Environment produced by DG Environment came out as a rather weak policy document (CEC 2006) and this DG seems to have significantly reduced its actions vis-à-vis urban areas. At the same time sustainable urban development (SUD) has frequently been identified by DG Regio as a major objective of EU initiatives directed at cities. For instance DG Regio has recently claimed: A common methodology for sustainable urban development has begun to take shape over the last decade and has been generated following the emergence of a European ‘Acquis Urbain’, which builds on the experience gained while supporting integrated and sustainable urban development. (CEC 2009b: 25) Similarly, the ESDP has highlighted the role of SD identifying three basic goals: ‘economic and social cohesion; sustainable development; balanced competitiveness of the European territory . . .’ (ESDP 1999: 10). In addition, several European directives have a major impact on urban development and local politics. If we think of air pollution control or the directives on EIA and SEA the local dimension cannot be neglected. However, as stated in the Aalborg Charter, ‘As each city is different, we have to find our individual ways towards sustainability’ (Aalborg Charter 1994: 2). This may again result in a highly diverse and context-specific interpretation of what sustainability is about. This feature can be seen as both a strength and a weakness of the concept of sustainability. Whether or not these add up to a coherent approach (in terms of SUD) is questionable and, serious questions remain over the extent to which policies are coordinated/integrated both between and within the two DGs with a clear ‘urban’ remit (i.e. DG Regio and DG Environment); when it comes to working with other DGs the record is even worse. Despite the fact that sustainability is now an established norm of European politics, commentators are unsure about the impact of the European SDS. Critics see the turn to sustainability as an unbalanced attempt to reconcile economy and ecology. The interpretation of SD to be found in declaratory documents makes reference to the ideas of the Brundtland Commission but does little to implement sustainability as an independent policy principle (Baker 1997, 2007; Lenschow 2001b). In particular, the equation of sustainability and ecological modernization reveals a broad consensus that sustainability is seen as a way to promote sustainable growth and market integration. Sustainability in the European context serves to conciliate contradictory policy goals and facilitates consensus which might in the end result in a dilution of environmental goals (Jachtenfuchs 1997; Baker 1997, 2007; Lenschow 2001b). In addition to these political pitfalls and the strategic-instrumental use of an ambiguously defined concept of sustainability, critics point to weaknesses in the operationalization of the EPI principle (Baker 1997; Lenschow 2001b).
Sustainability and knowledge 17 1.2.1 Operationalization of sustainability: environmental policy integration Despite the question of how to best embed a concept of SD in an interdependent system of geographic units (e.g. cities and regions) or political scales (local, national or European) we are clear about the sectoral implications. The key question of a procedural understanding of sustainability is whether and how environmental, economic and social concerns are geared to one another. While environmental protection itself developed as a sectoral policy (at least from an institutional point of view), strategies for SD are always arranged as cross cutting issues with the related procedures of inter-sectoral coordination. However, as Lafferty states, ecological aspects are considered to take centre stage in the concept of sustainability (Lafferty 2004b: 192). This leads to the question of how the state of sustainability of a certain sector such as transport or the effects of a certain project may be judged. Approaches to measure sustainability are usually based on substantive criteria that relate to the substance of policy programmes or projects. Here one might focus on the ultimate effects and outcomes of the implemented policies in a certain form of sustainability appraisal. These effects are usually measured using a fixed and agreed upon catalogue of indicators. Although this approach has proven to be viable and effective, it leaves us with some doubts for the following reasons: 1 Catalogues of indicators tend to neglect context effects. Indicator-based approaches to SD are only partly capable of measuring interdependence and the accumulation of diverse developments. Therefore, they fail to provide strategic guidance for policy integration. Sustainability is not an absolute, but a relative concept that cannot be fully analysed outside a certain governance context or dissociated from its political, social, economic and wider socio-spatial context. In particular, sustainability is highly dependent on local knowledge. 2 Due to this semantic openness the notion of sustainability itself seems to have contextual implications and is open to a variety of even contradictory perspectives. This semantic openness has lead to a never-ending dispute about the meaning of the concept which can be analysed from the perspective of the political use of knowledge. A fixed list of measurable indicators that purport to be universally valid beyond time and space obfuscates these underlying knowledge conflicts. Therefore, pure indicator-based approaches to sustainability run the risk of concealing a hidden agenda of universal expertocracy and positivism, at least if they are applied in hierarchical institutional settings. From our point of view sustainability is also about underlying discourses of local development including the possible reframing of issues and controversies. Indicators may play a role here as they inform the debate and serve as feedback mechanisms (monitoring), but we have to be aware that they are bound to a certain expert-technocratic knowledge claim.3 Many authors point out that science for sustainability is part of a post-normal science which tries to avoid the shortcomings of expertocracy and seeks to broaden the scientific knowledge base (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1993; Gibbons et al. 2001; Grunwald 2007).
18 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok As an alternative, Lafferty and Hovden propose interpreting sustainability as an issue of policy integration, inter-sectoral coordination and inter-temporal integration. They define EPI as: –
the incorporation of environmental objectives into all stages of policymaking in non-environmental policy sectors, with a specific recognition of this goal as a guiding principle for the planning and execution of policy; accompanied by an attempt to aggregate presumed environmental consequences into an overall evaluation of policy, and a commitment to minimize contradictions between environmental and sectoral policies by giving principled priority to the former over the latter. (Lafferty and Hovden 2003: 9)
Based on this definition environmental policy integration operates in three dimensions: • • •
comprehensiveness, aggregation and consistency.
(Lafferty 2004b: 200–201)
The criterion of comprehensiveness implies that in order to call a sectoral policy sustainable all relevant environmental, economic and social concerns should be taken into account. Furthermore, ‘Comprehensiveness refers to a given breadth of time, space, actors and issues’ (ibid. 201). Comprehensiveness therefore directly points to the extent and the variety of types of knowledge which have been taken into account. Inter-temporal comprehensiveness shares a strong cognitive dimension with forms of knowledge about future developments and related ‘tools’ such as scenario-techniques, prognoses and foresight (Grunwald 2004). A comprehensive knowledge base may lead to a higher differentiation of problem perceptions or at least to an appreciation of complexity (Haas and Haas 1995: 259). But Lafferty does ignore that it makes a difference if comprehensiveness in a given political context operates within forms of expert knowledge or if comprehensiveness results in mixed forms of knowledge including knowledge claims of non-experts or lay people (everyday knowledge, local knowledge). This means that there may be conflicts in knowledge about certain elements of ‘time, space, actors or issues’ as these are elements of the content of the different knowledge types which are not exclusively linked to certain forms of content in terms of the dimensions of sustainability. Aggregation refers to the (ex ante) evaluation of a certain policy measure from an integrated (cross-sectional) perspective reflecting the various substantive concerns. To what extent have different concerns mediated via validity claims of knowledge articulated by actors or groups of actors been acknowledged and integrated? Is the evaluated complexity moving towards a multidimensional and well ordered structure? To what extent do the argumentative plots of various actors show a balanced and differentiated problem perception/ definition? Finally, consistency refers to the consistency of the different components: e.g. are the various elements of a comprehensive and aggregated policy in accord?
Sustainability and knowledge 19 The criterion of consistency is also related to the consistency (or possible conflicts) of the various knowledge types. The criterion of consistency can be applied to the consistency of the internal structure of the belief systems of actors or groups of actors (i.e. consistency of causal assumptions; reduction of dissonance or avoidance of contradictions). Furthermore, we may interpret the criterion of consistency as the result of efforts to build consensual knowledge about certain phenomena. This definition of EPI has been developed by Lafferty for analytical purposes in an international comparative study about national sustainability strategies. But it serves to make the interdependence of knowledge, governance in the realm of sustainability clear. It also clarifies the challenges of the provision of knowledge for sustainability. 1.2.2 The hidden agenda of EPI: transformative learning The enhanced integration of environmental concerns in sectoral policies implies the formation of knowledge on different time scales. A long term change in the highly integrated knowledge systems of sectoral policies is necessary to adapt sectoral policy principles to sustainability goals. Short-term goals refer to the mobilization of knowledge for the assessment of particular projects (infrastructure, etc.). We can also distinguish between sectoral and social-spatial dimensions of knowledge systems (Holden 2008). The latter refers to the mobilization of knowledge in a local or regional context characterized by socio-spatial proximity. Sectoral policy knowledge includes professional beliefs systems, instruments, policy principles, values and the framing of issues. How may this be understood? The consideration of environmental concerns as side effects, external effects or second order problems in sectoral policies calls for the integration of new knowledge into sectoral policy systems (for example in the transport sector, energy sector or agricultural policy, see Kröger 2005; Darby 2006; Nilsson 2005; Szarka 2006). As sectoral policy systems usually consist of certain forms of expert and technical knowledge, we also have to consider the bias of lay perceptions and expert knowledge. For example, seen from the perspective of the transport system, sustainability calls for a transformation of the standard operating procedures, values and goals of this sectoral policy and this transformation of policy relevant knowledge can be called transformative learning (O’Toole 1996: 45). There is a widespread literature on learning based changes in policy instruments and techniques of governing (May 1992; Hall 1993). We address here what Hall called first and second order changes in the development of policy (Hall 1993: 281–2). While first order change is described as the fine-tuning or precise setting of instruments, we speak of second order change when one instrument is replaced by another instrument promising better implementation of stable goals. First order change takes place on a daily basis; second order change is much rarer. But policy learning does not only affect the instruments and techniques of a policy (governing) . Policy learning may also touch upon the scope of a policy and implicit causal assumption about how the substantial problem in a field (unemployment, inflation) should be tackled. This kind of learning implies changes in policy
20 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok principles (day-to-day routines) as well as paradigmatic shifts (third order change in the terminology of Hall, 1993). The underlying paradigms of a policy include causal assumptions of the problems in the field as well as a corresponding theory of action that guide interventions to solve the problem. In a very general sense, policy learning is more about the content of the policy. In addition to skills, techniques and principles, the implementation of policy is deeply entwined with the attitudes, beliefs and world views held by actors. Many implementation problems do not have their cause in the inappropriate choice of instruments and methods but in the lack of consensus and shared knowledge. We will call ‘social learning’ all forms of learning to overcome problems of collective action in a certain episode of reform or policy. It refers to debate and agreement about goals, ideas and common world views. The common construction of a policy problem is not directly related to the convergence of interests of actors where it might be helpful to act together for a certain period of time. Learning among interdependent stakeholders is not necessarily part of policy learning and can be characterized by convergence of goals of actors (or groups of actors), the co-creation of knowledge via joint fact finding or participatory interpretation of ambiguous situations which might result in a new perspective on the issue at hand (Szarka 2006). Therefore, we share the claim of many colleagues that sustainability requires a reflective politics of knowledge. Having outlined the positive aspects of knowledge, learning and sustainability we will now turn to the obvious obstacles and challenges.
1.3 Knowledge restrictions or why sustainability might fail Alongside the normative desirability of an extended knowledge base for SD and the obvious need for transformative learning, the implementation of sustainability is a challenging task for the following reasons: a) There is an inevitable tension between (universal) expert knowledge and local knowledge reflecting local priorities and conditions. Local knowledge as a form of knowledge about local contexts with a strong tacit dimension is highly valued in the debate on Local Agenda 21. On the other hand it is unthinkable to argue about sustainability without a certain input of scientific expertise. While scientific knowledge has been dominant for decades, a drift towards the appreciation of non-scientific forms of knowledge about cause and effects in environmental politics can be observed in recent years (Jamison 2001; Fischer 2000). The question is whether scientific expertise necessarily devalues and disregards other knowledge forms and related validity claims or whether we can think of productive transdisciplinary couplings. b) Judgements on SD are necessarily dependent on knowledge about future conditions (Grunwald 2007). These judgements are usually not made on the basis of empirical (hard) facts but by the use of foresight studies, scenarios, prognoses and models (air quality modelling, climate modelling, modelling of river systems etc.). If we think about the ongoing changes in the rationale of
Sustainability and knowledge 21 the discovery of natural science ‘facts’ (see the work of Knorr-Cetina, 2000) we always have to consider these forms of knowledge as insecure, incomplete and provisional. The long term perspective incorporates a basic uncertainty and a high level of complexity: The sustainable development commitment, in policy terms, entails an obligation to consider myriad issues for their cross-sectoral, cross-jurisdictional, and multilayered implications for other actors and issues, and also over extended periods. This commitment embodies a decision to take into account new levels and forms of knowledge, technical and social innovations, and ever-changing bases of information as these begin to become relevant. (O’Toole 2004: 45)
Knowledge about climate change or dispersion of PM10 is not generated in the laboratory, but the result of computer based models and calculations which always involve a degree of uncertainty. For the Dutch models on PM10, the levels of uncertainty are estimated to vary between 15 per cent (for measurement of background concentration) and 45 per cent (for predictions of future concentration for specific streets, Matthijssen and Visser 2006). Foresight, scenario techniques and modelling (even if better data and more computer power are available) can never remove this uncertainty. This leads us to the concept of ignorance or non-knowledge. Willke uses the concept of non-knowledge to describe a certain contemporary condition. Over recent decades we have gradually became aware that our decisions (taken today) affect the future in a way we do not fully understand (Willke 1992). The perceived chain of impacts is becoming longer and longer which leads to the recognition of unintended side effects and so called second order problems. We can gain knowledge about this by doing research but every new bit of knowledge produces new non-knowledge. Therefore, Willke suggests gaining expertise in dealing with non-knowledge. In the field of sustainability one can expect uncertainty to be a permanent aspect of policy action. Not what is going on in the present, but what might and should be going on in the future is in the centre of concern. Reflectivity and learning as an answer to uncertainty are just one option. Other ones may be a) more science or b) incrementalism (O’Toole 1996: 46). But it may even be justified to ‘wait and see’ in the face of dynamic circumstances. c) In environmental and spatial planning procedures like scoping (ex-ante) and monitoring (ex-post) that are partly obligatory in environmental assessment or formalized sustainability appraisals call for new forms of knowledge production (indicators, systemic use of data, broad range of analytical methods, measurement of cumulative effects). The current practice of environmental assessment and spatial planning shows that we might think of different ways of co-production of knowledge, using and handling multiple forms of knowledge in procedures like SEA (Rydin 2007; Richardson 2005). d) Like all other political decisions sustainability appraisals are caught between fact and value. Judgements are dependent not just on factual or descriptive
22 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok knowledge, that is the perceived state of the world and certain assumptions about cause and effects, but also on evaluative criteria (normative knowledge, values, see Nullmeier 2005: 124). Decisions combine values with descriptive knowledge; new factual or scientific knowledge may lead to new assessments of certain developments. Here a certain meta-knowledge or reflective knowledge on SD is needed which deals with the mixed character of fact and value in the knowledge dimension and the aforementioned provisional character of sustainability appraisals. In any case the implementation of knowledge for sustainability does not seem to be a linear process.
1.4 Three different ways of knowledge implementation Thinking about the implementation of SD we can observe that new forms of governance and participatory inquiry are normatively desired and commonly used to generate various forms of knowledge including local knowledge (Wagenaar 2007). In other words: in contrast to many forms of environmental politics where forms of scientific and technical knowledge are (still) dominant (and thought to be implemented in a linear manner), policies for SD need by definition the integration of a wider knowledge base because of their interdisciplinary and participatory character. One might follow the grounded hypothesis, that sustainability needs a broad and comprehensive knowledge base and that the high volume of scientific or expert knowledge which dominates the environmental discourse should be enriched with local knowledge (Fischer 2000) in participatory arrangements or new modes of knowledge production (Gibbons et al. 2001). However, we see a more contingent relationship between knowledge and policy results (Nullmeier 2005). It is clearly impossible to deduce a decision from the existing knowledge base. As many examples show, ‘clear’ evidence does not necessarily lead to optimal policy. If we relate SD to the implementation of knowledge and the corresponding institutional conditions, we have to think of the possible different ways of knowledge implementation. As a productive frame for further empirical work we find it useful to contrast three ideal types of sequential implementation of knowledge (here in the ambience of spatial planning and environmental assessment): a) The instrumental model (Davoudi 2006: 15) presupposes an unproblematic, linear and direct relationship between scientific and expert knowledge and ‘evidence-driven’ policy outcomes – without giving systematic relevance to everyday/local/milieu-knowledge or reflective knowledge in governance arrangements. This mode of thinking about policy and governance contains a strong element of inevitability – with the expert dominating. b) The contrastive implementation type (reflective model; cf. Davoudi’s 2006: 16) enlightenment model) includes more knowledge forms. Here research, scientific and expert knowledge benefits have more indirect effects and sometimes take longer to be realized within the realm of politics and the lifeworld. The emphasis is not to produce ‘punchy policy messages’, but to illuminate the
Sustainability and knowledge 23 landscape, within which policy decisions have to be made. In this model research-generated scientific and expert knowledge attains the additional role of clarifying the context. In addition it uses other knowledge bundles – including reflective knowledge and in this way informs the wider public debate more realistically (see the special role of the media here). The ideal type of the reflective knowledge implementation chain then aims to inform actors within specific governance arrangements rather then ‘spoon-feed politicians’, who after all may not have the time or inclination to follow it. Interaction and bridge building between policy, governance and research (science going public) is at stake here, shoving away the emphasis from ‘evidence-based policy’ to an ‘evidence-informed society’. Even though it seems to be closer to real-world policy processes and governance arrangements, the ‘reflective’ model nevertheless remains an ideal type; sharply opposed to the contrastive ‘instrumental’ model of linear, technologicallike, commanded and controlled implementation chains – from rational evidence to rational politics. Seen from the perspective of political science we see the need to think of a third form of knowledge implementation which may be added to the instrumental model: the strategic use of knowledge in policy processes. c) The strategic use of knowledge refers to the selective use of knowledge according to interests (Nullmeier 1993; Flyvbjerg 1998). To a certain degree actors can choose from an offer of available knowledge in so called knowledge markets. Nullmeier uses the term knowledge market to describe rival forms of knowledge and interpretation-schemes with competing validity claims (Nullmeier 1993: 183). Such knowledge markets arise out of a sufficient supply of competing forms of (technical, everyday, local, scientific) knowledge and ‘magical beliefs’ in a certain policy field and related forms of communication (mass media, expert cultures, expertise, consultancies). In such a perspective, even the growth of ‘think tanks’ may be seen as a deliberate strategy for providing ‘intellectual legitimacy’ to policies and governance arrangements that have already been decided upon. Political knowledge markets are characterized by monopolies, oligopolies or pluralistic (even anarchic) structures. The scope of the available knowledge in knowledge markets restrains the opportunities for knowledge choices and hence influences the fate of a strategy for SD. But knowledge markets are not a given. We might think of a reflective politics of local knowledge enhancing the capacities for local SD by opening up institutional arenas and governance structures.
1.5 Governance for sustainability or how the use of and access to knowledge is regulated Our basic idea of governance for sustainability is that access to and application of knowledge are regulated by institutional filter processes and the individual knowledge choices of actors (knowledge politics, see Miller 2007; Grundmann 2007).
24 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok The degree of comprehensiveness, aggregation and consistency – as categories for sustainability and seen from the perspective of composition of knowledge – depends on rules like boundary rules or position rules (Ostrom et al. 1994). The achievement of a state that might merit the description of being called sustainability is not just a question of an idea becoming institutionalized but also a question of knowledge becoming relevant for political action. The following table (1.1) shows in more normative terms our conceptualization of governance and knowledge in achieving urban sustainability. 1.5.1 Governance for sustainability or the need for intelligent institutional arrangements In linking the different elements of sustainability to institutional arrangements it is tempting to use the basic types of governance arrangements commonly in use (hierarchy, market, networks) as a starting point. Although many authors emphasize that formal and informal rules and procedures might facilitate or hinder learning processes or frame change, (see Nilsson 2005: 210) we still have poor knowledge on the question of how various modes of governance affect social learning. Some of the mentioned research results allow us to draw conclusions. Using the threefold distinction of market, network and hierarchy, most authors expect network governance to be the most promising mode for collective learning because networks lack the constraints of hierarchical organizations (Oppen and Strassheim 2006; Marsh and Smith 2000). We do not have to uncritically accept the widespread assumptions about the innovative power of networks as we can find considerable empirical work balancing the pros and cons of innovative networks. Referring to regional policy networks Benz and Fürst state that heterogeneous and loosely coupled networks provide the best precondition for learning (Benz and Fürst 2002). They integrate different viewpoints and interests and the boundaries between policy domains are less influential. These networks are able to absorb more external stimuli and are therefore more responsive to a changing context. Furthermore, they provide sufficient redundancy and link different regional subsystems in a flexible way. Hence the full range of available regional knowledge can be used and more options for problem solving can be taken into consideration. Knöpfel and Kissling-Näf discovered that networks in environmental governance arrangements built up a consensual area of normative and descriptive knowledge (Knöpfel and Kissling-Näf 1998).4 The work of Knöpfel and Kissling-Näf is important as this is one of the few attempts to conceptualize inter-organizational and collective learning that is seen as a typical characteristic of policy-oriented learning processes. They see networks as the locus and framework for learning because networks bring together actors with different worldviews and this difference triggers learning. Changes in the scope of consensual knowledge in the networks are supposed to be the result of collective learning focused around a shared problem. However, Knöpfel and Kissling-Näf miss the last step to see networks not just as structural framework but as learning entities as suggested by Marsh and Smith (2000). In the words of Marsh and Smith, ‘Networks result from repeated
Sustainability and knowledge 25 Table 1.1 Summary of conceptualization of Governance and Knowledge in achieving urban sustainability Concept
Openness for Actors
Holders: stakeholders, knowledge holders, rights holders and space holders Roles: Knowledge broker, gate keepers of knowledge, boundary spanner, independent expert
Inclusion of Knowledge
Forms of knowledge: expert, lay, everyday, institutional New forms of knowledge, like hybrid forms and reflective knowledge
Integration of Knowledge Sustainability
Contribution to economic prosperity, ecology and social cohesion Integration
Expected achievements in the economic, ecological and social domains Comprehensiveness (both sectoral and inter-temporal) in policy program Aggregation (both sectoral and intertemporal) Consistency of policy program Comprehensive representation of interests at the political, administrative and policy network level
behaviour and, consequently, they relieve decision makers of taking difficult decisions; they help routinize behaviour’ (Marsh and Smith 2000: 6). Although networks are clearly different in character from (learning) organizations they show some similarities. Changes in the standard operating procedures in a network may be seen as supra-individual learning processes. However, the empirical results show that learning patterns in networks are diverse and that networks are in no way a panacea for social learning (Knöpfel and Kissling-Näf 1998). They may be too heterogeneous to build up consensual knowledge or they may be too homogeneous and hinder structural changes (conservative networks or lock-in). Moreover, homogeneous networks may become cartels of prevention and stop any process of learning-based change or stick to group think, i.e. the mutual confirmation of positions and values, which leads to ignorance about external information (Janis 1972). To sum up, the relationship of governance and learning is still anything but straightforward. Although it is acknowledged that institutional structures characterizing different governance modes impact on the dynamics of learning processes, there is a lack of systematic and comparative research on the interaction between institutions and learning processes with the consequence that learning research
26 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok has not yet realized its full potential. This, of course, leads to the question of how learning in dynamic institutional fields can be addressed systematically. However, in order to make precise connections and analyse ‘intelligent’ solutions we prefer to begin the analysis one level of abstraction deeper: on the level of the types of rules that constitute the institutional arrangements (Ostrom et al. 1994). Boundary rules typically define which actors can enter the arena on which conditions. To the extent that certain forms of knowledge are linked to certain actors (for instance local knowledge to local stakeholders or scientific knowledge to professional experts), they also influence the forms of knowledge that enter the arena. Specific rules might exclude certain actors and forms of knowledge (‘only experts are allowed to enter’), but boundary rules might also include certain actors and types of knowledge (‘in order to take a decision the council has to hear local stakeholders’). These aspects are clearly related to the inclusion of actors and knowledge and to the criterion of ‘comprehensiveness’. The scope rules set the limits for the content of possible outcomes of the arena. Most laws that use environmental standards (such as the PM10 regulations) can be seen in this way. They typically use an indicator approach to sustainability. In most legal systems these rules are combined with extensive regulations on how to measure these indicators that refer to scientific methods, models and expert knowledge. Generally this will exclude other forms of knowledge (only knowledge claims that are based on the official methods and models are accepted in legal procedures). Scope rules that set explicit standards for the social and economic dimensions of sustainability are less common. The comprehensiveness of the scope rules is of course dependent on the extensiveness of the aspects that are regulated. Action arenas usually have information rules that specify the subjects that have to be covered when taking decisions and the forms of knowledge that can be used to validate specific knowledge claims. These rules have a direct impact on the availability of different forms of knowledge and their influence in the decision process. Again they might exclude certain knowledge types and issues, but they might also specify that certain issues have to be taken into account, as is the case in most forms of environmental impact assessment. The issues that have to be taken into account might influence both comprehensiveness and consistency in terms of the issues considered (social, economic and ecological), but also in terms of the time and space dimensions of sustainability. Additionally, the information rules specify whether knowledge that is available to actors inside the arena is also available to other actors (the general public or the media) and whether decisions have to be justified publicly, through systems of accountability. The authority rules specify which types of actions the actors in the arena can take in the different roles that they can play. These rules are particularly important because they determine the possibilities actors have to make an impact in the decision process; they operate in combination with the aggregation rules that specify how the actions of the different actors are to be used in generating the outcome. The combination of these rules specify the possibilities for actors and the form of knowledge that they bring to the table to influence the outcome of the arena. As such, they are particularly relevant for the aspects ‘aggregation’ and ‘consistency’.
Sustainability and knowledge 27 The combination of authority and aggregation rules might give actors more or less equal possibilities of influencing outcomes (as in voting rules where every actor has one vote), but they might also provide one actor or a limited set of actors with the bulk of influence (for instance by providing them with the exclusive right to formulate proposals, evaluate alternatives and take the decision). Taking the analysis one level of abstraction higher, we might consider whether the four institutional arrangements can be characterized by specific choices in terms of the different rules discussed above. A hierarchical arrangement is generally characterized by a combination of authority and aggregation rules that give governmental agencies the exclusive right to prepare and take decisions (Heffen and Klok 2000: 163), but also contain information obligations to justify decisions publicly (accountability). The rights to take decisions will usually be limited by some form of scope rules, including a legal system that will specify measurement methods and models. The extent to which these scope rules actually restrict the possibilities of governmental agencies to ‘do as they please’ is highly dependent on their content. Hierarchical arrangements might contain boundary rules that specify rights of citizens and organizations to enter the arena, but they will usually occupy positions with limited possibilities to influence decisions. In some cases, information rules will specify which types of issues have to be taken into account in order to take decisions. Based on these characteristics, what can be concluded in terms of the conditions for sustainability? As a general conclusion, the strong position of governmental agencies, combined with public accountability guided by legal restrictions on methods to be used, will favour forms of scientific and expert knowledge. In terms of the issues to be covered this might still result in relatively high levels of sustainability if there are scope and information rules that specify obligations in terms of comprehensiveness and consistency. In terms of the actors that can bring their (local) knowledge into the process, the comprehensiveness of the arrangement is dependent on additional arrangements that give actors the right to enter the arena. In this way, additional rules can specify ‘intelligent’ versions of hierarchical arrangements that contain at least some favourable conditions for sustainability. A market arrangement is generally characterized by actors who have considerable freedom in terms of authority and scope rules. Information rules specify no obligations in terms of the decision making process and aggregation rules specify that bilateral agreements based on individual considerations and purchasing power result in acceptable outcomes (Heffen and Klok 2000: 163). Actors that have no purchasing power (or considerations that are not considered by actors) have no influence. These arrangements usually have very unfavourable conditions for sustainability, as ecological considerations are usually disregarded as ‘external effects’, economic considerations dominate the decision process and scientific and expert knowledge have limited entrance possibilities. Only through additional (externally imposed) scope rules, setting standards for ecological characteristics of products to be produced might some level of sustainability be achieved. Both network arrangements (bargaining and arguing) are characterized by the rule that the members of the network take the decision, based on some sort of
28 Karsten Zimmermann, Bas Denters and Pieter-Jan Klok collective agreement (bargaining or arguing). Boundary rules might be restrictive (mostly in bargaining networks) or non-restrictive (mostly in arguing networks), with predictable consequences for the forms of knowledge that can enter the debate. Scientific knowledge might enter the debate, but its status is dependent on the recognition of validity claims by members of the network. Generally, claims made by non-members are not included in the considerations of members (Heffen and Klok 2000: 163). Usually there is limited variance in authority rules between members and relations between members can be seen as egalitarian. In this sense networks are ‘based on faith in common sense, everyday knowledge, and the genius of place of ordinary people as alternatives for professional expertise’ (Denters and Klok 2006: 45). It is obvious that networks provide rather favourable conditions in terms of the comprehensiveness of forms of knowledge; in this case the boundary rules are not restrictive. However, comprehensiveness in term of the issues to be taken into account is highly dependent on the willingness of members to take them into account. If members tend to disregard ecological issues, the outcomes will not be sustainable in this respect, unless additional scope or information rules are formulated. Consistency of outcomes will depend on the ability and willingness of the actors to reconcile different elements (or knowledge types). In bargaining networks, the aggregation aspect of sustainability is dependent on the bargaining power of the members (which might vary considerably between actors) and in arguing networks it is dependent on the argumentative skills of members (which might also vary considerably). Usually networks have limited institutional safeguards that protect ‘weak’ members against ‘strong’ members, but ‘intelligent’ institutional arrangements can be considered (for instance providing for an explicit ‘process management’ position). Our analysis shows that the four institutional arrangements provide nothing more (but also nothing less) than a general tendency towards inclusion of certain knowledge types and related conditions for sustainability. Much is dependent upon the specific institutional settings for the arenas and even more, within these arenas much is dependent on the actual choices that participants make, deciding to use or disregard different forms of knowledge, related to different issues and dimensions. As has been stated frequently in our contribution: sustainability is a multidimensional, contextualized concept.
Notes 1 ‘Behaviour is procedurally rational when it is the outcome of appropriate deliberation. Its procedural rationality depends on the process that generated it’ (Simon 1976: 426). 2 In June 1998, a European summit took place in Cardiff. 3 See the debate on post-positivism and the argumentative turn in policy analysis: Fischer 1998; deLeon 1997. 4 Another form of network-based learning is the diffusion of ideas and policy innovations (Dolowitz and Marsh 1996).
Sustainability and knowledge 29
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2 The place of knowledge in policy-making processes An assessment of three EU environmental policy instruments Sonja Löber
2.1 Introduction Since the 1970s, scholars of political science have been aware that political steering attempts that do not take the problem-solving capacities of the addressees into account are likely to fail because of knowledge deficits. Policy problems, particularly in the area of environmental politics, are too complex and top-down approaches are unable to take into account all relevant aspects as well as the possible side-effects of measures (see Mayntz 1987). Also policy makers have become aware of their limited capacity for successful hierarchical steering. They face a decline in internal steering capacity as well as external autonomy. Internally, governments increasingly depend on society’s problem-solving capacities, which leads to a loss in hierarchical forms of control by the state. Externally, transnational interdependencies and global problems, like climate change, undermine national governments’ ability to autonomously govern their societies and cause them to transfer powers to governing levels, beyond the state (Scharpf 1992). Traditional regulation seems to have reached its limits, resulting in a readiness among policy makers to adopt new problem-solving approaches. Three such examples of European Union (EU) environmental policy-making are considered in this chapter: particulate matter (PM), the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). This new generation of policy instruments in environmental policy-making differs from traditional hierarchical regulation. While these so-called New Environmental Policy Instruments (NEPIs; see Jordan et al. 2003) differ very much from each other, what they have in common is that they provide opportunities for additional knowledge input by the affected actors during the instruments’ implementation. The opportunity structure for knowledge input varies strongly from instrument to instrument. This structure will hereafter be referred to as the policy instrument’s knowledge design. At its core, knowledge design refers to the way a policy instrument is intended to lead to a positive outcome with respect to identified political challenges. This chapter seeks to clarify the governance processes that resulted in the knowledge design of three EU policy instruments in the field of environmental policy making.
34 Sonja Löber In Chapter 3 of this volume, it is argued that actions of different kinds of actors can be conceptualized as the product of two knowledge-based filtering processes. In a first filtering step, the actor will need to take choices of interpretation (Deutungswahl) by deciding on a specific interpretation of a policy problem and on relevant institutional arrangements that will provide the context of further action. In a second filtering step, choices of action (Handlungswahl) are taken by eventually selecting from the stock of knowledge that passed the first filtering process those elements relevant for action (Nullmeier 1993). This idea is very fruitful for assessing processes of policy implementation. In the following it will be argued that knowledge-based choices of interpretation and of action are also at the core of policy-making processes that introduce policy instruments. The choices of interpretation during policy-making processes seem to enable and pre-structure an emerging instrument’s knowledge design that is decided on in choices of action. According to Kooiman (2002: 86–7) governance processes take place at the different categorical levels of first order, second order and meta governing (see also Heinelt 2006 and Chapter 3 in this volume). First order governing is concerned with implementation processes. Second order governing and meta governing constitute policy-making processes. The level of meta governing, where basic ideas on policy problems and ways to address them are developed will in the following be captured as the place where basic choices of interpretation are taken. In second order governing, binding decisions on concrete political measures like the adoption of a new policy instrument are taken, i.e. choices of action are made. In the following, the choices of interpretation and of action in processes of meta and second order governing that led to the adoption of three different EU environmental policy instruments with their specific knowledge designs will be assessed. The knowledge design itself is intended to affect processes of first order governing. However, the empirical effects of the policy instruments are not the focus of this chapter, which concentrates on the emergence of the knowledge design and its connectedness to knowledge-based choices in policy-making processes.1 In the following, as a first step, the characteristics of each of the three policy instruments will be described, then governing processes on the meta and second order level of each policy instrument will be introduced as knowledge-based filtering processes (i.e. choices of interpretation and choices of action), in order to explain the knowledge design by these choices. Finally, some general conclusions on links between knowledge designs and filtering processes will be drawn.
2.2 Environmental policy instruments and their ‘knowledge design’ The First Environmental Action Program2 of the EU back in 1973 emphasized the dependence of environmental policy making on scientific knowledge: ‘The standard of scientific and technological knowledge in the Community should be improved with a view to taking effective action to conserve and improve the environment and to combat pollution and nuisances. Research in this field should therefore be encouraged.’ (CEC 1973: C 112). However, scientific knowledge, although retaining
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 35 an important position, has increasingly been supplemented with more life-world oriented forms of knowledge that do not refer to universal truths but have a context based validity, e.g. within a local governance arrangement. Therefore, traditional policy-making, where policies are implemented hierarchically, was supplemented by new environmental policy instruments adopting horizontal network or market based policy styles (cf. Jordan et al. 2003). These new policy styles are based on the insight that horizontal and vertical approaches have different capacities for mobilizing knowledge. Facing new kinds of problems and policy failure as well as a growing awareness of the limits of scientific knowledge, new types of knowledge were sought to be integrated into policy making and implementation. Each of the three policy instruments considered in this chapter takes a different approach, referred to as a specific knowledge design, to address this challenge. Particulate matter as addressed in EU legislation3 is understood as a health problem. By breathing in the particulates, the cardiovascular system of a person can be harmed. Resulting from this problem definition, the levels of air pollution at every location are important, while the combined PM total from all locations is less significant. The directive fixes scientifically justified thresholds and an amount of days on which they may be exceeded before a specific set of actions must be taken, the directive grants considerable discretion to the affected municipalities. This approach is intended to mobilize the local knowledge of the affected municipalities that are likely to have the most adequate insights on how to react, because they are the closest policy level. The EU Air Quality Directive remains very general by stating that Member States ‘have to take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the limit values’ (Article 7, para. 1) and that short-term action plans have to be drawn up to indicate measures that will be taken, when the limit values and/or alert threshold values are in danger of being exceeded (Article 7, para. 3). This confirms that this hierarchical policy instrument acknowledged possible deficits in knowledge due to the distance between superordinate policy levels and the actual problems in European cities, and therefore contains mechanisms to mobilize knowledge at the local level. Emission trading is based on the view that high amounts of the ‘greenhouse-gas’ CO2 lead to ‘global warming’ and therefore cause a rise in sea-levels and more frequent extreme weather events. From this perspective only the overall amount of global CO2 emissions are relevant but not the emission rates of single sources. A situation where one source emits 100 tons of CO2 and another only 20 tons is just as good or bad as one where both sources each emit 60 tons. In EU emissions trading this notion is combined with the insight that the most efficient way to achieve a specific amount of CO2 emissions reductions can only be developed by the affected actors, i.e. the emitters. The establishment of a market, where a politically decided scarce amount of emissions rights is available, is intended to provide incentives for each participating actor to gather knowledge that enables them to contribute to an efficient outcome of the trading processes as a whole. In contrast to the PM problem only the total of all emissions is relevant for climate protection, so each actor is allowed to decide individually if under the given market constraints they want to reduce emissions (e.g. by investing in new
36 Sonja Löber technologies) or to buy additional emission rights from other market participants. By developing their own strategy of individually dealing with the constraints of the emissions market each actor contributes to an efficient way of reaching the emissions reduction target of a country. In sum, this constellation leaves policy makers with the decisions on how much reduction of CO 2 emissions should take place while the actors that are allocated with the rights decide on how the reductions should be achieved. The case of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is completely different; it has the rather vague target of promoting sustainable development.4 However, it aims to provide the affected actors with binding instructions on how to achieve this target – by application of two fundamental ideals of EU environmental policy, the integration principle and the prevention principle (see Albert 1998: 35–6; Weber 1989: 9). SEA prescribes certain procedures that are intended to generate and spread knowledge on the likely environmental impacts of plans or programmes. The final decision has to be justified in the light of this knowledge. The assessment process has to ensure public participation and the public provision of information. Mercier (2002: 1) concludes that SEA influences decisions by bringing into the decision process all available knowledge. The knowledge input by stakeholder participation complements the knowledge that has to be provided in an environmental report by experts. The Commission’s Directorate General (DG) for Environment in its guidelines for implementing the SEA Directive states that ‘(t)here will be difficult questions of interpretation, but when properly applied these assessments will help produce decisions that are better informed’ (ibid.: 1). The EU, trusting in the rationality of expert knowledge, stresses a technocratic paradigm, thus decisions should emerge from a process that converges towards an ideal of comprehensive rationality and objectivity (Staeck et al. 2001: 40).
2.3 Particulate matter The World Health Organization (WHO) distinguishes three different sized types of health affecting particulate matter: coarse, fine and ultrafine particulates.5 They became a topic of European policy-making as a result of an increase in scientific evidence concerning the adverse effects of these substances on human health. At first, however, European policy-making on particulate matter only became possible in the much broader context of policies on air pollution control and air quality. It is therefore necessary to briefly look at this policy field’s origins to understand the context in which legislation on air quality objectives became possible within the EU (3.1.). Thereafter the choices of interpretation and the choices of action that underlay this legislation will be considered (3.2.). Legislation on particulate matter has always been very closely related to the underlying scientific discourse and they cannot be separated from one another. The following sections will therefore address how they are interrelated, highlighting the connections between the scientific discourse and the resulting (new) knowledge and subsequent policy decisions within the EU. Meta governance and second order governance are thus revealed in their immediate interrelation.
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 37 2.3.1 A context for governance on particulate matter From the beginning of the 1980s the EU6 engaged in second order governing on the reduction of particulate matter in ambient air, i.e. choices on concrete political actions were taken. Despite the ecological considerations on the need for transboundary clean air policies, environmental policy making had no own legal basis in EU law. Instead it needed to be justified as promoting the EUs economic goals (on the economic justifications of EU environmental policy see Caspari 1995: 27–31) or the preamble’s demand for improvement of the circumstances of living and employment – of which protection of the environment can be interpreted as a part (Knill and Liefferink 2007). Although it steadily developed a more self-contained character it was not until the Single European Act 1987 that environmental policy making gained its own legal basis in the EU. Finally, becoming an independent policy field environmental policy making was added to the list of tasks to be fulfilled by the EU through the Maastricht Treaty which came into force in 1993 (Heinelt et al. 2001: 6). Initially the EU’s activities in environmental policy making mainly dealt with legislation concerning water quality. Although single laws on vehicle emissions were enacted in the 1970s more concerted action on air quality policy was not taken until the 1980s. This neglect of air quality can be traced back to the 1970s oil crisis that increased energy prices and thus worked against the enforceability of policies on air quality that would have resulted in even higher costs. Also effective lobbying at national and European levels by the powerful automobile industry contributed to preventing earlier action. Nevertheless, even in the 1970s transboundary air pollution was a major point of interest of the member states concerning the environmental impacts of the European integration process. It had become obvious that individual states alone could not effectively address environmental problems in the field of air pollution. In particular the problem of acid rain caused by emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) gained much attention. At the end of the 1960s, expert knowledge was gathered that acid rain was a transboundary problem where the main emitters (UK and industrial regions in Central and East Europe) did not bear the main costs. Instead Scandinavia found itself in the role of the main cost bearer and brought the topic to the international political agenda (Hajer 1993: 51). The problem of acid rain contributed to the awareness of environmental policy makers that environmental issues tend to depend on international solutions, a view also set forth in the First Environmental Action Program (1st EAP) in 1973. It therefore represented a first step towards European engagement in clean air policies. At a UN Conference in 1972 the Swedish government started its efforts against transboundary air pollution. The ensuing period of debate on the issue took the remainder of the 1970s and was strongly dominated by the search for technical knowledge provided by scientific experts (Hajer 1993: 51). In addition the global discussions of the topics of ‘climate change’ and ‘ozone depletion’ were decisive in the establishment of clean air policies as an area of EU policy making. From the beginning of the 1980s in accordance with the instructions of the 1st and 2nd EAP legislation on air pollution control was agreed at the European
38 Sonja Löber level. The first legislation in this context (i.e. the first evidence that knowledgebased choices of action had been taken), directive 80/779/EWG, was in 1980 and concerned tropospheric ozone and airborne particulates, which the Commission still considers to be the most important objects of regulation in air policy regarding human health.7 The directive set limit values for airborne particulates which were not allowed to be exceeded from the beginning of 1983. In this first period of clean air policy, only the overall concentration of PM was measured without any differentiation of the size of the detected airborne particulates. In sum it can be stated that together with the problem of acid rain and knowledge on its causalities, other issues concerning clean air (e.g. pollution from carbon dioxide, from chlorofluorocarbon and also from PM) entered the EUs political agenda. 2.3.2 Particulate matter: choices of interpretation and choices of action In this sequence of events scientific studies demonstrated that airborne particulates smaller than 10 μm (due to their possibility of penetrating the lungs) are a crucial policy problem because of their adverse health effects. Although it was questionable whether or not the research methodology of these studies adequately fitted the complex character of their object, the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996 adopted its Clean Air Guidelines, emphasizing the epidemiological and toxicological dangers of particulates smaller than 10 μm (PM10) (Hainsch 2003: 49–53). Based on these choices of interpretation the EU chose to let the steadily increasing stock of scientific knowledge influence its actions, i.e. its second order governing and introduced legislation concerning PM10 through a directive in 1996 and the first of its subsequent daughter directives in 1999. Frame directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality assessment and management was enacted by the EU to prescribe duties of measurement and information on (among others) PM10. It modified previous laws and introduced quality standards for specific air pollutants and it informs the enactment of daughter directives to regulate the concerned pollutants. With Council Decision 97/101/EC a system of information exchange was established. The EU MP are obliged to exchange information concerning their internal networks in the area of clean air policy as well as the data from particular gauging stations and their measurements. This is supposed to assist with implementing the directive and monitoring its implementation and contribute to mutual knowledge transfer. The first daughter directive (99/30/EC) established stricter limit values for NOx, SO2 and Pb as well as coarse particulates (PM10) than the preceding regulations. Concerning PM10 the directive sets limit values of 50 μg/m³ for the mean value within 24 hours, allowing for 35 daily excesses per year and of 40 μg/m³ for the mean value within a year. For 2010, it envisages stricter limit values by allowing the daily limit value to be exceeded seven times and a tightening of the annual mean values to 20 μg/m³. Authorities are obliged to react when these limit values are
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 39 exceeded with short-term action plans. When significantly exceeding future limit values they also have to develop long-term clean air plans. The first daughter directive in the sequence was amended with the Commissions Decisions settling annual reporting obligations for the EU member states. After the directives enactment in 1999, the member states had to implement it and develop monitoring strategies within two years. With regard to PM10 the deadline was 2005. The current 6th EAP provides the strategic frame for EU environmental policy making until 2012. It has the basic target of developing a strategy to prevent air pollution within the EU; by 2020 a level of air pollution should be reached which has no adverse health effects. The EAP instructs the implementation of the Clean Air For Europe (CAFE) programme. CAFE has the objective of strengthening the links between research and policy and an integrated long-term strategy to combat air pollution and its effects. CAFE can be considered as an active attempt to provide new knowledge and an arena for the exchange of existing knowledge. Policy makers should gain a better understanding of what they can reasonably expect from science by addressing the questions “what is known, what is not known and where uncertainty cannot be reduced in the near future” (COM(2001) 245: 12). This formulation indicates a highly reflective attitude towards the necessary knowledge base for policy making and clearly shows an awareness of the limits of scientific and expert knowledge. That the CAFE network was also intended to inform the knowledge base of policy makers and enable better knowledge flows between the actors in European governance arrangement supports the observation that choices of action were determined and justified by the knowledge available for decision making. It is likely that new knowledge can enter into European legislation easier than the first evidence of adverse health effects of PM did. Basic choices of interpretation and knowledge-based choices of action have already been taken. They no longer need to be completely modified but only to be gradually adjusted, supplementing choices of action, and already have a favourable institutional context. From this perspective it is not surprising that in May 2008 existing EU legislation on PM (and other Air Quality objectives) was merged into the New Air Quality Directive (Directive 2008/50/EC). The basic choices of interpretation as well as the instrument’s KD were retained. However, some changes were made to the provisions of the precedent directives including the introduction of air quality objectives for PM2,5.8 Latest scientific evidence on PM had shown that the very small particulates of fine dust (PM2.5) are especially dangerous for human health. Fine dust is affecting human health more negatively than coarse particulates, because they penetrate more deeply into the lung and can reach the alveolar region (WHO 2004: 15–16). As might be expected the new scientific knowledge easily entered the European agenda.
2.4 Emissions trading The instrument of emissions trading is an economic approach to addressing climate change. In processes of meta governing it was chosen to interpret climate
40 Sonja Löber change as a problem resulting from climate protection’s attribute of being a public good.9 Combined with the fact that the costs for burdening the global climate are not directly and exclusively paid by the actors causing the burdens, this leads to the situation of a prisoner’s dilemma (cf. Scharpf 1997: 134–7). In this situation, there are no incentives for an actor maximizing his or her individual profit to contribute to climate protection. The benefits resulting from any contribution of a single actor would be available to everybody and would at the same time be so marginal that the effects could not even be noticed. So the most profitable situation from the single actor’s point of view would be a situation in which everybody but himself contributes to climate protection (Lafeld 2004: 37–8). The basic idea of emissions trading is to assign the natural resource ‘clean air’ with a monetary value to regulate the degree of its pollution and the resulting environmental impacts by establishing an emissions market to achieve the aim of reduction in an efficient way. By state interventions each enterprise, or each participating state, is assigned a limited number of rights to burden the climate. So the absolute amount of emissions can be politically determined to effectively control the consequences for the global climate. The price for emissions rights is regulated by the market, i.e. by the demand and the supply of tradable rights. The reduction is to be achieved by the market at minimal costs because each emitter affected by the regulation will weigh up, if it is cheaper to reduce emissions (e.g. by investment in new technologies) or to buy additional rights from other emitters who possibly have cheaper options for reducing emissions. Through this mechanism the reductions will always take place where their costs are least. Since the prices are thereby completely determined by the market it can – in an ideal market10 – be assumed that independent from the initial allocation of rights the welfare optimal (i.e. cheapest) way of achieving the goal will be followed. 2.4.1 A context for governance on climate change In the case of governance on PM a policy context had yet to be developed before decision making within the EU became possible. Emissions trading is different; here a suitable policy context was already established when the problem arose. However, the choices of interpretation and the choices of action taken would not have been possible, if there had not been a prior scientific discourse on economic policy instruments. A first step towards the political realization of emissions trading was the detection of climate change. The Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius argued in 1908 for the thesis that human activities like the burning of fossil fuel have significant impacts on the global climate (Schröder 2001: 10). In a second step political interest in knowledge concerning the causes and effects of climate change developed during the 1950s and evidence was gathered on the possible effect of human activities on climate change. Numerous organizations were founded and from the early 1970s some international conferences were held. This trend was supported by a strong upswing of activities arising from civil society which followed great environmental catastrophes in the 1980s (e.g. Chernobyl).
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 41 Moreover, the process was pushed by the example of the successful international negotiations about ozone depletion which resulted in the Montreal Protocol in 1987 (Schröder 2001: 12–19). This focussed the EU’s efforts on the target of finding a global solution to the problem of climate change. While scientific attention during the 1970s focussed on topics like ‘climate cooling’ and ‘climate variability’, by the early 1980s the warming of global mean temperatures due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere became the central issue (Agrawala 1998a: 607).11 2.4.2 Emissions trading: choices of interpretation This new problem awareness created a context for political activity and it became the starting point for the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that not only described emissions trading as a specific policy problem but interpreted it in a certain way. The IPCC has the task of generating scientific assessments of high quality, and of building an international democratic consensus on the character of the problem and possible policy reactions including the varying standpoints of different groups of industrialized and developing countries (Agrawala 1998a). The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) therefore views the IPCC as central for the evolution of the new problem definition supported by scientific evidence. The Kyoto process took place at a time when these reports provided very strong support for the assumption that climate change is a result of human influences. The first Assessment Report was published in 1990. It was the first attempt to collect evidence for climate change on a broad international scale. At the time it did not link it with human activities but ascribed it to natural climate variations (Lafeld 2004: 34). By contrast the second report (published in 1995) explicitly suggests that an anthropogenic influence on climate change must be supposed (IPCC 1995a). The knowledge thereby produced was a key in creating the Kyoto process. Harrison and McIntosh Sunderstrom (2007) emphasize the importance of policy makers’ acceptance or rejection of this framing of climate change for explaining their ratification or non-ratification of the Kyoto Protocol (KP). Thus they explain the KP’s ratification by political systems like Japan, Canada and the EU despite their expectation of severe economic costs associated with the scheme (Harrison and McIntosh Sunderstrom 2007: 7–8). Considering the decisive role that the IPCC played in generating public attention for the topic of climate change Agrawala concludes that the influence of the organization must be understood more ‘in terms of triggering and sustaining policy concern and considerably less in shaping subsequent action’ (Agrawala 1998b: 633). Nevertheless she acknowledges that the IPCC besides assessing knowledge on climate change also had an important role in shaping policy. The IPCC also developed the first recommendations for concrete solutions of the problem, amongst them the policy instrument of emissions trading. The Second IPCC Assessment Report from 1995 (IPCC 1995b) lists tradable emissions permits as a possible policy instrument to reduce greenhouse gas
42 Sonja Löber emissions. The third assessment report was published in 2001, some time after the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol and one year after the European Commission’s ‘Green Paper on greenhouse gas emissions trading within the European Union’ (European Commission 2000). The report assesses tradable emissions permits as a possible national as well as international policy instrument. The criteria that are mentioned for assessing an environmental policy instrument are its economic efficiency, the environmental effectiveness as well as its institutional feasibility (IPCC 2001). The Fourth IPCC Assessment Report explicitly addresses questions of adequate policy design and deals with issues such as the best methods of allocation and the consistency of the National Allocation Plans within the EU ETS (IPCC 2007: 756–9). This development of more and more detailed assessments of the policy instrument shows how the IPCC’s work also follows collective choices of political decision making to give advice for second order governing and provide evaluation of already adopted measures. 2.4.3 Emissions trading: choices of action The EU directive on emissions trading was associated with the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol.12 Initially it was a US proposal made during the Kyoto process that allowed the instrument to come to the EU agenda. EU representatives had previously viewed emissions trading as granting a ‘license to pollute’, but they saw the entry of international emissions trading into the treaty as a way to keep the US on board during the negotiations (Egenhofer 2007: 453–4). Subsequently the EU changed its position on emissions trading and made use of the benefits of the instrument promised in contrast to traditional regulation that had proven rather ineffective in respect to climate change. In 2000, a Green Paper was published (CEC 2000) that set out the characteristics of a possible EU ETS in order to initiate a broad stakeholder consultation. This participation process mainly took place within the First European Climate Change Programme that was set up by different working groups to prepare the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. After the USA withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, the EU established itself as the international leader for promoting emissions trading and keeping the Kyoto process alive. This was accompanied by a reframing of the instrument with a new focus on its efficiency and effectiveness and the disappearance of the ‘license to pollute perception’ (Voß 2007: 338–9). The newly established ‘rules in use’ of the EU ETS’s main characteristics are: •
The introduction of a ‘cap-and-trade’ system: The overall number of allocated emissions right is determined by political decision makers for predefined trading periods. The price of these rights then develops as a consequence of their scarcity on the emissions market. This is intended to secure environmental effectiveness in accordance with the Kyoto obligations as well as economic efficiency. The burden sharing agreement: While the EU has committed itself to a uniform reduction target within the Kyoto Protocol, it has internally split this overall
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 43
target into individual targets for each member state within the so-called burden sharing agreement. A compromise concerning the method of allocation: Economists predominantly consider auctioning as the most efficient way of initially allocating the emissions rights for each trading period between the market participants because distributing the rights for free can provide windfall profits for specific sectors, e.g. the power sector (see Neuhoff et al. 2006).13
2.4 Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as the predecessor of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was adopted in 1985. It fits into the EU’s early environmental policy making, as it promoted the target of eliminating distortions of competition resulting from different levels of statutory provision in Member States. This goal was the main source legitimizing EU environmental policy in general (see Knill and Liefferink 2007: 2 ff.). At the same time Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (the EIA Directive) illustrates a paradigm shift in the Unions environmental policies. Until the directive’s implementation there had been a reactive mode of dealing with problems, organized vertically within separated policy sectors. This changed with the introduction of EIA’s and later SEA’s procedural requirements for promoting sustainable development. Article 1 of the SEA Directive14 introduces a twofold goal. In general SEA is supposed to ‘provide for a high level of protection of the environment’ (Directive 2001/42/EC, Article 1). The new horizontal approach to environmental protection is contained in the second goal ‘to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development’ (ibid.). As with the directive on EIA (Weber 1989), the SEA-Directive does not determine the final decision to be taken but ensures that it is taken on the basis of a wide range of information on environmental issues. In contrast to ETS and the reduction of PM, it also does not set any qualitative material targets or any thresholds (see Weber 1989: 9). Rather the steering principle of SEA follows a procedural rationality (see Heinelt et al. 2001). It requires a screening process determining whether a plan or programme needs to be assessed, a scoping procedure determining the breadth of the assessment, the assessment itself (documented in an environmental report), a public participation procedure, a consideration of the results of the participation procedure, and finally the monitoring of the environmental effects of the implemented plan or programme. 2.4.1 A policy context for Strategic Environmental Assessment The focus of the directive is not on measures to handle a problem but on procedures to approach an ideal. The crucial question is not under what conditions a specific problem became a political issue and which choices of interpretation were taken once it had that character, but how specific ideas became guiding principles for
44 Sonja Löber EU environmental policy. SEA is based on two of those principles, the prevention principle and the integration principle. Traditional policy instruments primarily tried to solve environmental problems after their occurrence rather than prevent their emergence. However, the prevention of environmental damage was required in the First Environmental Action Programme (EAP) in 1973: ‘The best environment policy consists in preventing the creation of pollution or nuisances at source, rather than subsequently trying to counteract their effects’ (CEC 1973: C 112). This suggests that possible environmental problems should be detected before they become acute and require remedial action. This idea is based on the economic perception that the avoidance of damage to the environment is in most cases cheaper than removal of the damage ex post (Knill/Liefferink 2007). EIA and later SEA built on this idea. EIA and SEA both seek to overcome the vertical approach to environmental issues, i.e. the goal was to integrate environmental policies into other policy fields. They require that environmental issues be considered across all sectors;15 previously, problem solving remained strictly within the borders of the addressed sectors. This vertical policy-style could not consider the environment as a whole, thus measures to solve one problem often had adverse effects on other environmental issues. This resulted in a situation in which environmental problems tended to be shifted into the sectors with the smallest regulative capacities to solve them (Albert 1998: 35). The integration principle was first taken up in the 3rd EAP in 1982. However, without explicitly identifying the principle even the 1st EAP in 1973 introduced a holistic approach to the environment, defining the core of the integration principle by stating that it is ‘necessary to evaluate the effects on the quality of human life and on the natural environment of any measure that is adopted or contemplated at national or Community level and which is liable to affect these factors’ (CEC 1973: C 112). The 5th EAP from 1993 gave priority to the principle. 2.4.2 Strategic Environmental Assessment: choices of interpretation While the introduction of the 5th EAP can be ranked as an ‘innovative turn in EU environmental policy making’ (Kronsell 1997: 112), EIA had already anticipated this development; the follow-up directive on SEA is an attempt to realize the EU’s 5th EAPs call ‘Towards Sustainability’. The crucial step of choices on interpretation concerning the introduction of EIA and SEA was connecting the term ‘sustainable development’ to the integration principle. Although the term ‘sustainability’ remains contested this connection is now widely accepted. Since the UNCED process resulting in the Rio Declaration in 1993, the integration principle has generally been treated as a central component of sustainability (Lafferty and Hovden 2003: 4). The Brundtland Report proposed the integration of environmental issues into economically and socially relevant decisions. The adoption of the EIA directive in 1985 occurred at a time period when the discourse on sustainability and the integration of environmental concerns into other policy fields was strong.
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 45 After the adoption of EIA the discourse continued facilitating revisions and supplements to the policy instrument that follow its logic, such as SEAs introduction in 1997. The relation between the integration principle and the overarching ideal of sustainability complements the definition of sustainable development underlying the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS) and the direct conclusions drawn from it: Sustainability means ‘to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ It rests on three separate pillars – economic, social and environmental – which need to reinforce one another to ensure sustainable development. The economic, social and environmental consequences of all policies thus need to be examined in a coordinated manner and taken into account when those policies are being drawn up and adopted. As part of the 5th EAP the Council asked the Commission to develop a strategy for implementing Article 6 of the consolidated EC Treaty, that fixes the obligation of integrating environmental issues into all other Community policies by stating that ‘environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of the Community policies [. . .] in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development.’ The Commission, launching the Cardiff process, reacted with its Communication of 27 May 1998 ‘on a partnership for integration: a strategy for integrating the environment into EU policies’ (CEC, 1998). The Communication suggests several measures reflecting the integration principle. Among these were: integrating the environment into all activities by Community institutions; reviewing existing policies; introducing strategies for action in key areas; drafting a Council report on how the environmental dimension has been successfully integrated into other policies of the Member States, defining priority actions and mechanisms for monitoring implementation. The EU SDS that was adopted in Gothenburg in 2001 went further. It emphasizes the need to both pursue environmental goals and to integrate environmental issues with economic and social objectives. The EU SDS provides ‘a long-term vision that involves combining a dynamic economy with social cohesion and high environmental standards’ (CEC 2004: 2). According to the Commission, the instruments of SEA and EIA are intended to be complementary to this more holistic long term approach. These considerations show that the policy instruments of EIA and SEA are the product of choices of action taken in the context of an ongoing discourse on sustainable development. Within this discourse the choice to closely relate the term to the integration principle has been reinforced on several occasions. 2.4.3 Strategic Environmental Assessment: choices of action Following the first EIA experiences of the USA many countries (e.g. Canada, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands) took up and implemented the general concept of environmental impact assessments (see Cupei 1986: 212–8). The process of creating a willingness to act was accompanied by extensive consultation with interest groups on the national and the supranational levels as well as by rounds of coordination and negotiation among the EU Member States and by complex consultations within European institutions. The whole discussion started from two
46 Sonja Löber comparative studies of EIA in the EU provided by a UK team of experts. These studies showed a pragmatic and flexible view on the topic. They considered the national experiences of the Member States with EIA and for reasons of acceptability plans and programmes were excluded from their proposals. The UK experts however emphasized the possiblity of also applying EIA to plans and programmes (Staeck et al. 2001: 34). The first Commission proposal on EIA was published in 1980 after almost two years of preliminary consultation. The horizontal approach of EIA affects a wide range of interests and actors and in spite of intense negotiations EIA remained a controversial topic within the EU. The main objections were driven by the fear of increasing planning and administration costs. The second set of objections questioned the compatibility of possible EU legislation and domestic administrative traditions within Member States. After these objections had been considered, five years after the initial Commission proposal, directive 85/337/EEC (the EIA Directive) was finally adopted. Twelve years later it was supplemented by Directive 97/11/EC (the SEA-Directive). The long period of preparation and discussion before the directives’ adoption resulted from different stakeholders’ knowledge on the possible costs and legal contradictions that could be caused by SEA. The fact that SEA was adopted can be considered as a product of the EU’s interest in expanding its competences in the policy field combined with the force of good arguments concerning the effects of EIA on the realization of the common market as well as on the principles of the EAPs. By realizing the prevention and the integration principle EIA and SEA closed the gap between environmental policy practice and the requirements of the EAPs that had previously existed. According to Partidario (2002) three types of experiences with EIA illustrated the need for the implementation of SEA. The first refers to the timing of decisions. Projects that are objects of EIA often take place within the broader context of environmentally relevant plans or programmes that were already decided on. So EIA takes place at a point of time when many decisions with environmental implications have already been made. Therefore an instrument to consider these implications from the beginning was missing. This is also the main argument of the Commission in support of SEA. DG Environment in its guidelines for implementing SEA argues that is it complementary to EIA and closes the gap previously identified. SEA allows for more significant change than EIA since it considers the likely and/or certain environmental impacts of decisions more broadly by also taking cumulative impacts into account and not simply those of single projects. Second, when this need for assessment at the planning and programme level is accepted, a new policy instrument that fits the characteristics of these levels of decision-making is needed. These can be expected to be much more strategically oriented on long term goals than decisions that are made for single projects. Finally, not only the character of the decisions to be made is different on the level of plans and programmes, but so too is the kind of information that is available to base decisions on. Information tends to be broader and vaguer on the plan and programme level than the more detailed information on a specific project. The assessment instrument needs to match these different circumstances (Partidario 2002: 1).
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 47 The first Commission proposal for the directive on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (SEA Directive) was adopted in 1996 and after the first reading in the European Parliament (EP) amended in 1999. The Environmental Ministers of the EU adopted its Common Position on these amendments at the beginning of the following year, and the EP agreed to it in its second reading. Directive 2001/42/EC (SEA-Directive) was finally adopted on 31 May 2001.16 SEA could not be adopted at first and EIA was the resulting political compromise in 1985 that provided the ground for additional legislation as basic choices of interpretation and of action had already been made. The experiences with EIA within the EU member states and other countries gave more weight to arguments on the need for assessments on plan and program level. Although these arguments had existed before they had now gained empirical support.
2.5 Conclusion: knowledge designs and filtering processes The considerations in this chapter demonstrate a connection between the knowledge design of a policy instrument and the knowledge-based choices on meta and on second order governing level. Compared on a very abstract level the choices on all three instruments have much in common. In all three cases choices of interpretation first had to be enabled by different kinds of external contingencies that allowed for political attention for the different topics like air quality, climate change or sustainable development. The following choices of interpretation each provided a specific problem perception that already implied a specific way of addressing the task of establishing an adequate knowledge design through choices of action. In the air quality case the policy problem was interpreted as adverse health effects resulting from particulate matter in ambient air. Scientific knowledge providing information on the peculiarities of this danger is at the core of this interpretation and also leading the related choices of action. So the directive sets specific limit values. On the other hand, it leaves the strategies of fulfilling these limit values mostly to the discretion of the affected municipalities. Concerning emissions trading the problem of climate change is interpreted as a prisoner’s dilemma resulting from the public good character of climate protection. So an economic approach through a knowledge design that aims at internalizing external effects was already implied in the problem perception. In SEA, ideal environmental policy making is interpreted as serving sustainable development by supporting the principles of preventing instead of repairing environmental damage and of integrating environmental concerns into other policy fields. A knowledge design establishing procedures allowing for this new approach to become effective through changing existing routines is a plausible implication of this ideal. After the pre-structuring of plausible knowledge designs through choices of interpretation, the following choices of action seem to be first and foremost determined by the ‘fit’ of the proposed solutions and measures to the problem interpretations or ideals provided by meta governing. It seems that once a specific interpretation of a policy target is developed a complimentary strategy to reach this target has a very good chance of being adopted. This may take less time – as in emissions trading
48 Sonja Löber where strong problem-solving pressure exists – or a longer time – as in SEA, where little pressure exists and some influential stakeholders had strong objections. In the cases of the instruments examined in this chapter the ‘fit’ of the posed problem or envisaged ideal is strongly based on the specific knowledge design of each instrument. This means that the knowledge design itself is pre-structured by choices of interpretation and a key factor for enabling choices of action. In other words, the considerations of this chapter lead to the hypothesis that it is crucial for the successful adoption of a non traditional policy instrument that its basic knowledge design was consistently pre-structured during meta-governing processes according to the choices of interpretation made on this level. With regard to particulate matter it is thus not surprising that the directive enforces specific thresholds that are scientifically justified. Moreover, these limit values can be changed as new (scientific) knowledge is gathered. Also the reflective openness for individual strategies at local level fits into this picture allowing for member state discretion and thus additional knowledge mobilization. To overstate matters somewhat natural science provides knowledge on the problem and the thresholds that must not be exceeded to prevent it, while the gathering of knowledge on how to achieve this is then left to those with the easiest access to local knowledge. In emissions trading the assumption that no command and control regulation could allow for the same degree of knowledge accumulation as the incentives provided by an effective market was decisive. For the ideals of SEA it is important that the instrument does not prescribe specific targets such as thresholds that must not be exceeded. Procedures instead focus on how to realize the envisaged ideals by gathering different types of knowledge. Although initially there was relatively strong stakeholder protest against SEA, the rationality of this knowledge design – perfectly fitted the binding provisions of the EAPs – finally lead to its adoption. Despite their different policy styles, the design of all three policy instruments on the level of second order governing, has proven to provide a highly reflective approach to the challenge of knowledge mobilization and utilization, that emphasizes the key position the availablity of a plausible knowledge design has for the successful adoption of a new policy instrument.
Notes 1 See Chapter 8 for a case study on emissions trading in Germany at the level of first order, governing with a focus on knowledge-filtering processes. 2 The EU’s EAPs are mainly intended to specify the focus of the following years’ regulation and to fix the strategic orientation of EU environmental policy. Although they are not legally binding they have great influence on the policy-making process (see Knill and Liefferink 2007). 3 This refers to the Air Quality Framework Directive from 1996, its First Daughter Directive from 1999 as well as in the New Air Qualitiy Directive from 2008. 4 The directive connects this term with ‘a high level of protection of the environment’ and ‘the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes’ (Article 1).
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 49 5 All of those are smaller than 10 μm and scientific knowledge is available that they can reach the upper part of the airways and of the lung. Since bigger particulates, according to these insights, cannot penetrate the human air system 10 μm marks the upper limit for coarse particulates. The border between coarse and fine particulates is 2.5 μm and 0.1 μm between fine and ultrafine particulates. The WHO definition will be adopted in the following. 6 Despite the fact that the EU was founded in 1993 and remarks referring to an earlier time thus apply to the European Communities the following comments will, in order to avoid unnecessary notional complexity, use the term ‘EU’. 7 See http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l28162.htm 8 See http://ec.europa.eu/environment/air/quality/legislation/directive.htm for more details. 9 These are defined (i) by the criterion of non-excludability, meaning that no person can be prevented from benefiting from the good, and (ii) by the criterion of nonrivalrous consumption, meaning that once the good is provided, there are no additional costs resulting from an additional person consuming it. 1 0 An ideal market is one without any transaction costs and with perfectly informed actors. 11 William Kellog (1987) provides an overview on the evolution of the scientific and public awareness of climate change from the first origins of scientific awareness for the mentioned issues till the 1980s, during which the currently dominant framing of the policy problem was initiated. 1 2 See Schröder (2001) for a comprehensive discussion of the Kyoto process. 1 3 Being a political side effect with no appropriate legitimacy these windfall profits impact upon the competitiveness of the market participants, especially disadvantaging energy intense branches of industry. On the other hand a trading system based on ‘grandfathering’ finds better acceptance among most stakeholders as it does not impose any initial direct costs on them. 1 4 This section discusses only the main characteristics of the Directive. For a very detailed interpretation see the guidelines by the Commissions DG Environment (European Commission 2003). 1 5 Explicitly excluded are national defence and the financial sector (Directive 2001/42/EC, Article 3, para. 8). 1 6 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eia/sea-legalcontext.htm
References Agrawala, S. (1998a) ‘Context and Origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’, Climatic Change, 39: 605–20. —— (1998b) ‘Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’, Climate Change, 39: 621–42. Albert, D. (1998) Supranationale Problemlösungsfähigkeit oder nationale Interessen wahrnehmung? Die umweltpolitische Handlungsfähigkeit der EU, Integration, 21: 32–42. Caspari, S. (1995) Die Umweltpolitik der Europäischen Gemeinschaft. Eine Analyse am Beispiel der Luftreinhaltepolitik. Nomos: Baden-Baden. Commission of the European Communities (1973) Declaration of the Council of the European Communities and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member
50 Sonja Löber States in the Council of 22 November 1973 on the Programme for Action of the European Communities on the Environment (1st EAP), Official Journal C, 112: Brussels. —— (1998) Communication from the Commission to the European Council – Partnership for Integration – a Strategy for Integrating Environment into EU Policies, COM(1998) 333. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. —— (2001) Communication from the Commission: The Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Programme: Towards a Thematic Strategy for Air Quality, COM(2001) 245. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. —— (2004) Commission Working Document. Integrating Environmental Considerations into other Policy Areas. A Stocktaking of the Cardiff-Process, COM(2004)394 final. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Cupei, J. (1986) Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung (UVP). Ein Beitrag zur Strukturierung der Diskussion. Zugleich eine Erläuterung der EG-Richtlinie, Köln. Dales, J. H. (1968) Pollution, Property and Prices. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Egenhofer, C. (2007) ‘The Making of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Status, Prospects and Implications for Business’, European Management Journal, 25(6): 453–463. Hainsch, A. (2003) Ursachenanalyse der PM-10-Immission in urbanen Gebieten am Beispiel der Stadt Berlin, Berlin. Hajer, M. A. (1993) ‘Discourse Coalitions and Institutionalization of Practice: The Case of Acid Rain in Britain. In: Fischer, F. and Forester, J. (eds) The argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning, Durham/London. Heinelt, H. (2006) ‘Participatory Governance and European Democracy’. In: Kohler-Koch, B. and Rittberger, B. (eds) Debating the Democratic Legitimacy of the European Union. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield:. Heinelt, H., Malek, T., Staeck, N. and Töller, A. E. (2001) ‘Environmental Policy: The European Union and a Paradigm Shift’. In: Heinelt, H., Malek, T., Smith, R. and Töller, A. E. (eds), European Union Environment Policy and New Forms of Governance. Aldershot Ashgate. IPCC (1995a) IPCC Second Assessment Synthesis of Scientific-Technical Information Relevant to Interpreting Article 2 of the UNFCCC, Geneva. URL: http://www.ipcc.ch/ pdf/climate-changes-1995/2nd-assessment-synthesis.pdf —— (1995b) Second Assessment Report: Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses, Geneva. URL: http://www. ipcc.ch/pdf/climate-changes-1995/spm-scientific-technical-analysis.pdf —— (2001) Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001: Mitigation, Summary for Policymakers and Technical Summary, Geneva. URL: http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ tar/wg3/224.htm —— (2007) Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2000: Working Group III Report “Mitigation of Climate Change, Geneva. URL: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ ar4/wg3/ar4-wg3-chapter13.pdf Jordon, A., Wurzel, R. K. W., Zito, A. R. (2003) ‘New Instruments of Environmental Governance: Patterns and Pathways of Change’, Environmental Politics, 12(1): 3–24. Knill, C.; Liefferink, D. (2007) Environmental Politics in the European Union: PolicyMaking, Implementation and Patterns of Multi-Level Governance. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Kooiman, J. (2002) ‘Governance: A Social-Political-Perspective’. In: Grote, J.and Gbikpi, B. (eds), Participatory Governance: Societal and Political Implications. Opladen: Leske und Budrich. Kronsell, A. (1997) ‘Policy Innovation in the Garbage Can. The EU’s Fifth Environmental
The place of knowledge in policy-making processes 51 Action Programme’. In: Liefferink, D.and Andersen, M. S. (eds), The Innovation of EU environmental policy. Copenhagen: Scandinavian University Press. Lafeld, S. (2004) Emissionshandel in Deutschland im Zeitalter der Global Governance, PhD Thesis University of Münster. Lafferty, W. M.,Hovden, E. (2003) ‘Environmental Policy Integration. Towards an Analytical Framework’, Environmental Politics, 12(3): 1–22. Mayntz, R. (1987) ‘Politische Steuerung und gesellschaftliche Steuerungsprobleme – Anmerkungen zu einem steuerungstheoretischen Paradigma’, in Jahrbuch zur Staats-und Verwaltungswissenschaft 1: 89–110, Baden-Baden. Mercier, J. R. (2002) SEA Main Characteristics and Linkages to EIA, URL: http://info. worldbank.org/etools/docs/library/107861/sea/sea/pdf/transcript/m1_mercier.pdf?33539 Neuhoff, K., Martinez, K. K. and Sato, M. (2006) ‘Allocation, Incentives and Distortions: The Impacts of EU ETS Emissions Allowances on the Electricity Sector’, Climate Policy 6(1): 73–91. Nullmeier, F. (1993) ‚Wissen und Policy-Forschung. Wissenspolitologie und rhetorischdialektisches Handlungsmodell’, In: Héritier, A. (ed.) Policy-Analyse. Kritik und Neuorientierung, Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Partidario, M. (2002) History, Trend and Drivers of SEA, URL: http://info.worldbank.org/ etools/docs/library/107861/sea/sea/pdf/transcript/m1_partidario.pdf?33540 Scharpf, F. (1992) ‘Die Handlungsfähigkeit des Staates am Ende des Zwanzingsten Jahrhunderts’, in Kohler-Koch, B. (ed.) Staat und Demokratie in Europa, Opladen. —— (1997) Games Real Actors Play. Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research, Westview Press: Boulder. Schröder, H. (2001) Negotiating the Kyoto Protocol: an analysis of negotiation dynamics in international negotiations, LIT Verlag: Münster. Staeck, N., Malek, T., Heinelt, H. (2001) ‘The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive’, In: Heinelt, H., Malek, T., Smith, R. and Töller, A. E.(eds) European Union Environment Policy and New Forms of Governance, Ashgate: Aldershot. Voß, J.-P. (2007) ‘Innovation Processes in Governance: The Development of ‘Emissions Trading’ as a New Policy Instrument’, Science and Public Policy, 35(5): 329–43. Weber, A. (1989) Die Umweltverträglichkeitsrichtlinie im deutschen Recht,Carl Heymanns: http://www.buchhandel.de/?caller = vlbPublic&strFrame = titelsuche&verlag = Heymanns,%20Carl Köln. World Health Organisation (2004) Results from the WHO Project ‘Systematic Review of Health Aspects of Air Pollution in Europe’, WHO: Paris. —— (2006) Health risks of particulate matter form long-range transboundary air pollution, WHO: Copenhagen.
3 Governance and knowledge How do they interact? Conceptual propositions Hubert Heinelt, Gerhard Held, Tanja Kopp-Malek, Ulf Matthiesen, Eva Reisinger and Karsten Zimmermann
3.1 Introduction In the introductory chapter of their edited book on deliberative policy analysis, Hajer and Wagenaar develop an argument which is worth recalling: ‘There is a widespread appreciation that governments cannot legitimately keep up the idea that decisions can only be made on the appropriate knowledge available’ (Hajer and Wagenaar 2003: 10). The changes which have been widely subsumed under the shift from government to governance are not only caused by implementation problems, globalization or the crisis of the welfare state but they are also a reaction to a new condition of radical uncertainty (see also Jessop 1997; Amin and Hauser 1997; Newig et al. 2008). At least in the paradigmatic triangle of technocracy – bureaucracy – universalism, which has characterized public policy for many years, knowledge is no longer an unproblematic precondition for policy. As a result ‘science has become a more contested terrain and a less stable toehold for the policy practitioner looking for footing amidst the chaotic flux of everyday life’ (Hajer and Laws 2006: 416). The environmental movement raised serious doubts, if not deep mistrust, over the capacity of experts to give policy advice for good decision making (crisis of expertise). Public administration is no longer seen as the prime knowledge holder for policy making as policy relevant knowledge seems to be dispersed in social networks and is more and more in a state of flux. Last, but not least, the new interest in local knowledge expresses doubts about the universal validity claim of scientific knowledge (Fischer 2000). For various reasons we can therefore start from the assumption that what is accepted as valid knowledge in policy processes is contested. The non- appropriateness of what can be called a positivist or rational ideal of the relationship of (expert) knowledge and the implementation of policy has been extensively debated in the field of planning (Innes 1990; Davoudi 2006). Not only because of the fact–value dichotomy; the strategy of ‘First get the facts right’ is simply impossible and puts pressure on decision makers to open procedures for other knowledge-holders. Evidence-based policy is therefore thought of as an interactive process of knowledge generation and implementation (Davoudi 2006). The crisis
Governance and knowledge 53 of expertise is most obvious in the fields of spatial planning, environmental politics and technology assessment (Newig et al. 2008; Voß et al. 2006). The question is: How to govern in a world of radical uncertainty and high complexity?1 The governance debate certainly came along with a call for new forms of policymaking on various scales, including networks, participation and global governance (Kersbergen and van Warden 2004). We think that this debate has so far neglected a key topic: the manifold ways knowledge and governance interact. First, new forms of governance have to deal with the coexistence of multiple knowledge forms and competing validity claims (Rydin 2007). Governance arrangements influence access to knowledge from the perspective of the engaged or affected actors. Knowledge-making takes place in institutional arrangements which may be more inclusive and open for new actors or more exclusive (Miller 2007). Second, changing governance arrangements tend to devalue certain forms of knowledge and valorize others. Knowledge institutions such as the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) were built up because of the need to gather the relevant scientific knowledge for policy-measures. These knowledge institutions do set new standards of what counts as evidence and what does not (Miller 2007). This is important as we do not simply focus on the problematic nature of the science–policy interface but consider a broad array of forms of knowledge as the very basis for political action. As Wagenaar cogently shows daily administrative work includes a mix of expert knowledge, everyday knowledge and institutional knowledge about the ‘rules of the game’ and the standard operating procedures in the relevant policy field (Wagenaar 2004). The actors participating for instance in a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) probably ‘succeed in moving about in complex social-moral environments by applying some kind of a prior knowledge. This knowledge, which they have picked up through formal training and informal socialization, tells them how to interpret the situation and where to go’ (Wagenaar 2004: 649). The relevance of this political everyday knowledge, so rich in causal assumptions and normative prescription, urges us to go beyond a simple division of science as a producer and politics as a user of knowledge. Therefore, the interplay of institutional arrangements and knowledge is of major significance in the field of sustainable development where the multiplicity of knowledge forms is clearly relevant (Owens et al. 2006; Rydin 2007; Grunwald 2004). Sustainable development calls for a variety of measures on different social and political scales and ‘cannot be lumped into a generic steering problem’ (Voß et al. 2008: 2). We do not assume that one form of governance is appropriate to all situations and contexts. Indeed, it is our central contention that it is essential to ensure both: the development of the appropriate mix of governance and the integration of appropriate forms of knowledge into these governance arrangements in order to develop a context-dependent approach to sustainability and one that is widely recognized as legitimate. Starting from these propositions this chapter develops an analytical model to investigate how governance for sustainability can be achieved through the synergy between different governance modes and different forms of knowledge. This endeavour requires quite significant efforts, as no solid theory exists which may
54 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman be applied to understand all the possible couplings of knowledge and governance. Although knowledge can be seen as a rather ‘glorified’ research topic (e.g. within the recent discussions around the knowledge society) so far there have not been many studies that provide genuine insights into how to detect, explore and study knowledge in a governance context. We not only want to draw a richer, case-specific picture of the policy process by empirically reconstructing in a more comprehensive way the interaction zone(s) between governing and knowledge in policy processes and the detectable patterns of filtering and transaction, but also to consider new possibilities for learning, of legitimation and of motivation. We will therefore build on existing theories of knowledge (mostly from sociology) and governance (from political science). However, given the interdisciplinary character of the subject we will also refer to existing work in the planning literature and in economics. Before we start with an extensive description of our understanding of governance a short definition of what is meant by knowledge in governance contexts is necessary (Chapter 5 will give an extensive overview of the recent debate on knowledge and explain our categories in more depth). We will then refer to the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) model of Ostrom and others to develop an analytical approach for analysing the possible coevolution of governance arrangements and knowledge formations.
3.2 Governance and knowledge Following in the footsteps American pragmatist tradition (Pierce, James, Mead) we conceptualize knowledge as the capacity to act – including speech acts. Action without knowledge seems impossible, but we cannot deduce from existing knowledge a certain path of action. From a pragmatist perspective knowledge is always related to social processes of communicative interpretation (Shields 2008). Knowledge then includes assumptions about ‘causality’ or ‘conditionality’ as well as context information and normative judgements about what constitutes a problem and why it should be solved. In this sense knowledge is always integrated into a ‘meaning system’. The role of knowledge in policy processes has been the subject of research in a variety of empirical fields (Radaelli 1995; Haas and Haas 1995, see Chapter 4 for more details). Unlike many of the leading pieces of work in the field we do not restrict our inquiry to the political use of scientific knowledge. From our point of view knowledge is used, exchanged and produced on every level of government as well as of governing in general and by every actor in a political system (Nullmeier 1993: 177). From the perspective of political science the creation and use of knowledge depends on the specific configuration of rule systems and actor constellations (i.e. networks, milieus and organizations), a combination which is captured by the term governance arrangement. Knowledge forms do not enter directly into a policy process but have to pass institutional (as well as individual) filtering processes (see Nullmeier 1993). They may enter as specific bundles of different knowledge forms with competing validity claims of scientific, everyday, institutional and
Governance and knowledge 55 local knowledge. In a given situation we can find rival forms of knowledge and interpretation-schemes with competing validity claims which are used by actors in different ways (Nullmeier 1993: 183). The metaphor of the market as coined by Nullmeier seems to be an appropriate description for the role of knowledge in policy processes. To a certain extent knowledge can be chosen (or even bought) for strategic reasons by actors on knowledge markets (see also Flyvbjerg 1998). These markets arise out of an abundant supply of competing forms of knowledge in various forms such as formal expertise or everyday knowledge in a certain policy field. The metaphor of the market stems from the same semantic field as the metaphor of the trading zone. This term, first used by Galison (1997) and then introduced by Matthiesen (2005) into the field of urban research describes not only the explicit exchanges of knowledge. Trading of knowledge means that knowledge is interpreted, regenerated and adapted to new contexts. In theses trading processes forms and types of knowledge are always entangled with related forms of communication such as the mass media, closed expert cultures, professional consultancy or public deliberation. From an analytic point of view these knowledge interactions take place before final decisions are made. Unlike decision centred approaches we therefore draw a clear analytical distinction between inquiry and decision making. While inquiry refers to the cognitive structuring of a situation due to interactive accomplishments decision making refers to a final policy result. Inquiry may lead to closure, i.e. a narrowing down of the policy space, or disclosure, i.e. the discovery of new options for future action (Innes 1990). Decision making is more or less well informed by social inquiry and usually follows the mechanisms of arguing, bargaining, hierarchical intervention or majority vote. In order to answer the question of how governance impacts on the interactional settings and discursive practices which characterize knowledge markets and respective trading zones we will first give an overview on those strands of the recent debate on governance which most influenced our heuristic model. We then come back to explain our model in depth. 3.2.1 Governance modes and governance arrangements The term ‘governance’ is applied in a great variety of definitions and contexts within and across scientific disciplines (van Kersbergen and van Warden 2004). At first it was introduced in economic theory, stating that beneath the market mechanism and the hierarchy of the firm there are also opportunities to reduce transaction costs via hybrid forms of governance (Williamson 1975; 1996). The term entered the core areas of political science through the debate on global governance where the formula ‘governance without government’ was coined for constellations of collective action without the central authority of the state (Rosenau 1992). This idea has been taken up in various fields of political science such as urban and regional studies (Le Galès 1998; Stoker 2000) and environmental politics (Cashore 2002). In general the term governance refers to various changes in the process and meaning of governing. Special emphasis was given to network forms of governance in multi-actor constellations and processes of autonomous self-governing (for an overview see
56 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman Kooiman 2002: 71–3). Confronted with the diagnosis of state failure, as well as market failure, in ever more complex societies the creation of networks involving private actors and civil society in heterachic governance arrangements appeared to be a favourable way of solving societal problems (Jessop 1998). Governance from this perspective describes a way of coordinating social action based on horizontal and cooperative mechanisms rather than on direct state intervention and control (Haus and Heinelt 2005: 24–5). However, this position has not been uncontested. Davies (2003) draws a schematic distinction between ‘orthodox’ and ‘sceptical’ positions in the governance debate. He associates the ‘orthodox’ approach mainly with Rhodes (1996) who referred to self-organizing inter-organizational networks of governing. While in this narrow sense the term governance is reserved for nonhierarchical, consensus-based and often decentralized means of guidance (Rhodes 1996), sceptics point out that this might lead to a misunderstanding of political reality as even new forms of governance are trapped in dynamics of power and conflict. As Davies and Newman have shown, at least in the UK, decentralization and the rise of partly autonomous local partnerships were paralleled by centralization and hierarchical intervention by the central state (Davies 2003: 325; Newman 2001). Following this discussion we agree that the use of the term governance in general indicates changes in the institutional arrangements for action coordination (Newman 2001: 26) and that the role of government in the process of governance is much more contingent (Pierre and Stoker 2002: 29). However, due to the different uses of the concept in various national science cultures and political contexts (UK, Germany, International Relations) we have to be aware that the governance perspective simply provides a linguistic frame of reference through which complex patterns of collective action and changing processes of governing can be understood (van Kersbergen and van Warden 2004). We will use the term to describe steering mechanisms and the capacities of a political system without making any a priori assumptions about the institutions and actors exercising a certain form of steering. As governing occurs in a variety of ways we propose to apply a broader concept and to extend the typology of governance forms to include public and private, hierarchical, competitive and network forms of action coordination. These refer to: • • •
Hierarchy or hierarchical interventions in society based in democratic political systems on majority decisions or in the hierarchical organization of a firm/ administration. Non-hierarchical networks of autonomous but interdependent public and private actors reaching a binding coordination of interactions by bargaining. Non-hierarchical networks relying on arguing for influencing binding societal decision making.2
In addition to these political modes of governance characterized by their attempts to coordinate societal interactions by binding decisions intentionally, societies are also governed (unintentionally) by the ‘hidden hand’ of the market, i.e. by the
Governance and knowledge 57 imposition of constraints and the ability to (inter-)act through price mechanisms according to supply and demand (and a respective allocation of resources). The aforementioned governance modes are, of course, ‘pure’ or ‘ideal types’ which are rarely, if at all, found empirically (Bradach and Eccles 1991; Lowndes and Skelcher 1998). Instead, for coordinating societal interactions a certain mix of them has to be institutionalized (i.e. concrete forms of hierarchy, market-based exchange, interactive networking by bargaining and/or arguing of autonomous but interdependent actors) which at best complement each other, but also may contradict each other. This is because actors acting in ‘connected arenas’ are subject to various expectations that follow from the particular rules characterizing each arena (see Benz 2006). We will therefore distinguish governance modes (‘pure’ or ‘ideal types’) from governance arrangements combining these ‘pure types’ for example in a particular policy field. In order to fruitfully apply the governance perspective to the analysis of different forms of action coordination, we therefore need to clarify the particular features that characterize different governance modes as well as their combinations. Bearing this in mind and reviewing the governance literature one can generally identify three interrelated dimensions that seem to make up the understanding and application of the term ‘governance’ in our project (Benz 2006; van Kersbergen and van Warden 2004; Peters and Pierre 2000; Kooiman 2002; Jessop 1998; Newman 2001). In the following we will briefly introduce the three dimensions and work out the categories they suggest for the analysis of governance. The first dimension suggests a combination of the governance perspective with institutionalist approaches (Mayntz 1998). It is guided by the assumption that informal and formal rules organize collective action, e.g. by establishing arenas, allocating and limiting competencies and resources and defining roles based on their interpretation by the actors involved. A tool for systematically identifying and empirically recognizing institutionalized rule systems has been developed by Ostrom et al. (1994) with the so-called IAD framework.3 In particular the IAD framework allows for the analysis of the constraints and potentials of given formal and informal rules determined by the concrete application and mix of governance modes. Ostrom et al. (1994) distinguish seven types of rules:4 1 Position rules establish positions, assign participants to positions and define who has control over tenure in a position; it is essentially about who is doing what and it therefore forms the starting-point for other types of rules to be used to link these positions to responsibilities, formal powers, etc. 2 Boundary rules set the entry, exit and domain conditions for individual participants. 3 Authority rules specify which set of actions is assigned to which position at each node of a decision tree. They prescribe the allocation of rights and obligations for every position, determine the means available for a position holder to perform their duties and define the (legitimate) behavioural alternatives that are open to an actor in a position.
58 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman 4 Aggregation rules prescribe how (collective) decisions and other outcomes in an arena are made or reached on the basis of the contributions of different position holders. 5 Scope rules prescribe the possible outcomes of interaction in a particular arena and specify the status of the outcome of the (sub)arena in relation to the other (sub)arenas of the entire process. 6 Information rules specify the information available to each position at a decision node. 7 Payoff rules specify how benefits and costs are required, permitted, or forbidden in relation to players, based on the full set of actions taken and outcomes reached. These rules can be related to and further elaborated (analytically and empirically) with regard to each governance mode (see Heffen and Klok 2000 and Table 1.1 and the related explanations). The second dimension suggests a combination of the (institutionalist) governance perspective with actor-centred approaches since it is about attributes that explain actor’s behaviour and the way actors interact. As was noted above the way actors (inter-)act within specific governance arrangement is influenced by the informal and formal rule systems within which interaction occurs. In this respect, it is often assumed that rules either strictly determine actor’s behaviour or may leave room for choices. However, we find it necessary to treat actor attributes that explain behaviour as a theoretically distinct category – influenced, but not determined by the institutional framework within which interactions occur – since policies can change if the cognitive and normative orientations of policy makers change (as is suggested for example in the literature on policy learning, see Chapter 4) even if external and institutional conditions remain constant. Thus: •
Actors can be distinguished according to the qualities or resources they possess (see Schmitter 2002: 62–3) as: – Right holders – usually called citizens – Spatial holders – residents – Share holders – owners – Stake holders – those which could be materially or even spiritually affecting and are affected by a given measure – Interest holders – any person or organization ‘that demonstrates sufficient awareness about the issue being decided and makes known the desire to participate in the name of some constituency’ (Schmitter 2002: 63) – Status holders – actors (usually organizations) ‘that have been recognized by the authorities ultimately responsible for decision and formally accorded the right to represent a designated social, economic or political category’ (Schmitter 2002: 63): e.g. (corporate) representatives – Knowledge holders in a narrow sense, i.e. experts holding specific knowledge (or skills) which are ‘presumably needed if the policies taken are going to be technically effective’ (Schmitter 2002: 62). Under certain conditions these kinds of knowledge holders exercise the role of ‘guardians’
Governance and knowledge 59 (ibid.) securing what is perceived as ‘proper’ policy making (e.g. economic experts in central banks or law experts in [supreme] courts). However, it has to be emphasized that all actors are knowledge holders in a certain way. Furthermore, they might perform as multiple holders combining a range of roles – e.g. the role (or status) of a right holders with that of a spatial holder. Starting with the conceptualization of the attributes of the actors which help to explain observable action one can again refer to the IAD framework developed by Ostrom et al. (1994: 33–5). Ostrom et al. distinguished four attributes of actors (see Table 3.2) to which we suggest the addition of a fifth one: action orientation. Action orientation refers to the modes and manners actors follow in interactions with others and is not captured by Ostrom’s framework. This seems to be crucial because in contrast to the other attributes action orientations do not only focus on the actors but on interaction with other actors. With respect to the development of our conceptual framework we should then ask in what ways do the regulatory structures of the different governance modes influence the way actors, for instance, process knowledge, exert power etc. In addition to influencing the substantive action orientation, institutional rules also define the constellations of actors that may participate in the adoption and implementation of policy (position, boundary and authority rules) as well as their permissible modes of interaction (aggregation and information rules). In Table 1 we relate both categories (‘attributes of actors’ and ‘types of rules’) to the different governance modes we introduced above. The use of this approach allows us to develop a differentiated and multidimensional description of the ideal types of governance and, even more importantly, of the composite forms. We expect to find a configuration of rule systems which are made up of single elements of the ideal types (see Table 3.1).5 The term governance finally refers to the processes of forming and changing the formal and informal rules within which actions occur (as well as in which a policy is developed). It is particularly this third dimension that refers to processes of knowledge transformation and learning as a means of changing institutions as well as to the way in which the different governance modes obscure or facilitate collective learning processes. First, it requires firstly an elaboration of the concept of learning understood as a process of exchanging and transferring knowledge and second, a discussion about the consequences of the above mentioned features of the governance modes. However, we need to stress one aspect: We assume that certain governance modes are theoretically speaking more conducive to the initiation of learning processes, and we do not believe that any single governance mode inevitably involves learning processes. 3.2.2 Governing orders The governance approach goes hand in hand with the contention that the demarcation of public and private spheres has become blurred (Peters and Pierre 2000; Jessop 1998). This raises questions of legitimacy as public tasks are increasingly fulfilled by private actors.
Employment relationship Relational strength / resources Asymmetrical; supervision Principal agent Authorities decide on the basis of legal frameworks / constitutional rules Specified for each position Decided by position
Decided by authority
Command and Control; (based on majority voting); unilateral adjustment
Boundary rules set the entry, exit and domain conditions for individual participants.
Authority rules specify which set of action is assigned to which position at each node of a decision tree
Aggregation rules prescribe how decisions and other outcomes in an arena are being made or reached
Scope rules prescribe the possible outcomes of interaction in a particular arena
Information rules specify the information available to each position at a decision node
Payoff rules specify how benefits and costs are required, permitted, or forbidden in relation to players
Mode of Interaction
Negotiated agreements based on individual satisfaction
Decided by individual decision Individual benefits
Specified, dependent on bargaining position
Interconnected members activities
Multi actor agreement, package deals etc.
Member / Non-member
Position rules assign participants to positions, and define who has control over tenure in a position
Types of Rules Specification
Table 3.1 Modes and rules of governance
Negotiated agreements based on mutual and unilateral adjustment / trust and consent
Decided by collective decision, benefits of members
Perhaps specified, restricted to members
Interconnected members activities
Member / Non-member membership based on identity)
Hidden hand; prices; mutual adjustment
Exchange of goods through payment
Specification of prices and product characteristics
Freedom, only limited by constitutional rules
Spontaneous through individual action, bilateral agreement
Contract, Property rights
Choice of knowledge according individual preferences
Linear, dependent on position, Hayek Problem
Defined by position
Limited by position
The way actors acquire, process, retain and use knowledge contingencies and information
The selection criteria actors use for deciding upon a particular course of action
The resources that an actor brings into the situation
The action orientation actors follow in interaction Mixed motives (egoistic and collective)
Resources needed by others (veto positions)
Fixed individual preferences
Two level game
The preference evaluation that actors assign to potential actions and outcomes
Table 3.2 Attributes of actors and governance modes
Relative gains for all
Collective choice of knowledge
Preferences developed during interactions
Competitive egoistic orientations
Make or buy, property rights
62 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman To address the question of legitimate decision-making and to reflect the role and influence of state actors we will use a concept of three different governing orders. Jessop (2002) developed a certain understanding of ‘meta-governance’ which is important for establishing a systematic link between governance, sustainability and legitimacy. For Jessop ‘[Meta-governance] is the organisation of the conditions for governance and involves the judicious mixing of market, hierarchy, and networks’ (ibid.: 49). Kooiman (2002) distinguishes different governing orders, i.e. first order, second order and meta governing, addressing the same topic with the expression meta governing. Meta governing can be linked to the formation of general or policy-specific ‘images’ (or paradigms, Leitbilder etc.). It is underpinned by communicative rationality based on dialogue or, more broadly: on public deliberation. Meta governing and the development of ‘images’ implies a linguistic coding of problem definitions and patterns of action which are binding through ‘ethical standards’ (in the words of Kooiman 2002: 87–8). We would also like to add that not just ‘ethical standards’ in the sense of normative images or ideas of appropriateness are of concern when it has to be considered how and why a certain linguistic coding of problem definitions and patterns of action becomes binding for interactions. Shared or commonly accepted and therefore dominant assumptions about causality are crucial as well in this respect. In these kinds of interaction in which normative images of appropriateness and assumptions about causality are developed participants can use their ‘voice’ and influence the debate through ‘good reasons’ which can lead to reflectvity. For
meta governing LEITBILDER Ethics ‘arguing’
second order governing INSTITUTIONAL DESIGN & POLITICS Effectiveness & legitimacy ‘vote’ (arguing & bargaining)
first order governing ACTION & IMPLEMENTATION Effectiveness Hierachy (arguing & bargaining)
Figure 3.1 The three governing orders. Source: Heinelt 2007.
Governance and knowledge 63 the development and (actively spoken) the creation of this kind of participation, and the related nature of reflectivity, it is important to consider the distribution of ‘voice-options’ and the conditions for being argumentatively influential. First order governing is oriented towards operational actions or the ‘world of action’ (Kiser and Ostrom 1982) with more or less narrow institutionally defined ‘choice’ options. This is the world of implementation where public administrations, their agents and supporters meet those who are addressed by a specific policy or where policy addressees implement a programme autonomously but not unrelated to influences on and by other actors. Participation in this context means that those who could be affected by a policy ought to be involved in its implementation. ‘Voice’ again can be an important element of such an engagement. But the importance of participation (by ‘voice’) in the context of first order governing is less related to ethics than to effectiveness. This means that through participation the implementation of a programme can be secured in line with policy objectives by taking the motives and concerns of the policy addressees into account (Schmitter 2002). Furthermore, the willingness of policy addressees to comply can be secured by their participation. And finally, knowledge necessary for achieving a given policy objective can be developed through participatory inquiry (Fischer 2000). This underlines not only the importance of creating ‘voice’ options but also to reflect on the circumstances and conditions under which specific actors can be influential. We need to ask how circumstances and conditions develop under which specific actors can be influential by ‘voice’ or more precisely by arguing and/or bargaining. The conditions for the exercise of ‘voice’ develops, or is established, by political design and is related to certain statuses or features of citizenship. The political design of conditions under which specific actors can be influential by ‘voice’ is more or less a task of what Kooiman called second order governing. Second order governing is geared towards institution building and the creation of policy instruments/programmes. Effectiveness can also be seen as a norm of second order governing (just as in first order governing). By achieving effectiveness second order governing can acquire a specific kind of legitimacy, i.e. output legitimacy. However, this kind of legitimacy is not only poor in a normative sense, but also insufficient in so far as the sustaining of and changes in institutions are concerned, or, to put it generally, the wider political order. This requires input legitimation through participation, and the form of participation has not only to rely on ‘voice’ (arguing as well as bargaining) but also on ‘vote’, that is, the equal right of all citizens to participate in systems of majoritarian decision-making. In short, the traditional form of parliamentary participation is crucial for second order governing. Because second order governing is framed by meta governing, it can be indirectly influenced by communicative rationality and by the above mentioned forms of debate-based participation. But there are also options of a direct influence of debate based participation (for instance by different kinds of holders – considered above) or even lobbying. Coming back to the different knowledge forms we expect that the relevance of everyday knowledge, local knowledge and milieu knowledge will be restricted to the implementation arena (first order governing, as it was termed above) while
64 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman technological and institutional knowledge may be relevant to processes of arguing and bargaining on the level of institutional design (second order governing) and the implementation arena. In addition, on each governing order, knowledge related filtering processes take place which have important repercussions for the formation of a particular action arena on the subsequent governing orders. Finally it has to be mentioned that each governing order can be conceptually linked to an action arena formed by a certain set of governance arrangement and relevant knowledge forms. These may be related to different territorial levels of policy-making (EU or international level, the national level and the local level). However, all three governing orders and the related action arenas can also appear only at the local level where for example (i) meta governing and the development of certain ‘images’ of sustainability is bound to a Local Agenda 21 initiative, (ii) second order governing is carried out and decisions on particular policies and institutional settings are taken by a local council and (iii) first order governing and the implementation of locally determined policies is exercised by local governmental and non-governmental actors. We therefore distinguish carefully between the mentioned governing orders and multilevel governance. At least in the field of climate change, environmental politics is embedded in a multilevel governance context. The European emission trading scheme (EU ETS) is the result of multiple interactions of the global (Kyoto process), European (ETS), national (National Allocation Plan) and even the regional level (decision on power plants or sustainable supply of energy, Local Agenda 21). Following the rationale of our approach we have to take into account that the various levels of policy making do not only follow different institutional logics and are dominated by certain actors. Each level of governance is influenced by different discourses representing various forms of knowledge. For instance a certain form of expert knowledge on global warming may be influential in the global discourse and policy making on climate change (see Haas and Haas 1995; Miller 2007; Demeritt 2001; Grundmann 2007). But we have no reason to believe that this expert knowledge is universally valid on the local or national level. The global discourse may even be used to justify contradictory policy goals on the local level. In order to capture the interdependence between discourse and governance levels we apply the idea of ‘scaling of discourse analysis’ (Keil and Debbané 2005): ‘Scaling discourse analysis, then, refers to the necessity to consider environmental discourse a multi-dimensional and diversified practice. Depending on the various levels of state and society at which environmental policies are applied and depending on the geographical scale at which their solution is sought, there is a need to differentiate both policy processes and outcomes in environmental politics’ (ibid.: 260). This is not to say that certain forms of knowledge or discourse formations are automatically attached to certain territorial levels of governance but that the appropriateness of validity claims of knowledge differs on each level. What is valid on the global level is not necessarily valid on a local level and has to be translated. It follows that ‘There are no givens and invariables’ (ibid.: 257). Furthermore, scaling of discourse allows us to ask if knowledge flows between the different levels
Governance and knowledge 65 of governance are observable and how they effect grand politics (bottom up) and local decision-making (top down). The previously mentioned specifications on governance modes and governing orders allow some general hypothesis building on how systems of rules affect the use of knowledge in policy processes. But how do governance and knowledge interact in concrete policy episodes like the preparation of a plan against air pollution in the city of Athens or the performance of strategic environmental assessment in a Norwegian region? In order to answer this question we have developed a heuristic concept based on the action arena concept of Ostrom which enables us to detect how governance arrangements and related knowledge orders form an opportunity structure for sustainable collective action. This will also allow us to relate these episodes to the wider discussion on governance and governability.
3.3 The GFORS Concept The use of and access to knowledge is constitutionally restricted by formal and informal rule systems. Our own model starts with basic components taken from the Institutional Analysis and Development framework (IAD) of Ostrom (cf. Ostrom 1999; Ostrom et al. 1994) and is presented in Figure 3.2. A governance arrangement refers to an action arena in which actors in a particular action situation interact in a certain way, i.e. they exercise certain patterns of interaction leading to specific outcomes. However, actors in an action arena do not interact freely. They have to refer to (i) given attributes of the physical world, (ii) attributes of the community/ communities surrounding them and (iii) rules-in-use structuring their interactions. In other words: Actors are placed ‘in positions who must decide among diverse actions in light of the information about how the actions are linked to potential outcomes and the cost and benefits assigned to actions and outcomes’ (Ostrom et al. 1994: 29). Attributes of the physical world
Action area Action situation
Attributes of the community
Rules in use
Patterns of interaction
Figure 3.2 The action arena following the IAD framework. Source: Ostrom et al. 1994:37.
66 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman This means that actors are supposed to have information- and knowledge-processing capabilities about what is or seems to be possible as well as selection criteria and rules to choose a certain option of what is or seems to be possible for them. At first sight this is a simple statement in accord with the approach of Ostrom and many other scholars following a more or less ‘enlightened’ rational actor axiom (e.g. Scharpf 1997; Davoudi 2006: 16f.). But the expansion of the information topic into a knowledge perspective that is the systemic integration of a knowledge dimension as a heuristic device and element into the IAD framework has far-reaching consequences for the analytical model itself: the before mentioned elements (see figure 3.2) of the ‘attributes of the physical world’, the ‘attributes of the community’ and the ‘rules-in-use’ are not taken as ‘natural’ constraints and opportunities which determine collective actions in the action arena directly. Instead, now the degree of knowledge about constraints and opportunities becomes crucial. Seen from the perspective of sociological constructivism the conditions for the actors acting in the action arena change to a considerable degree. Actors have to know what is constraining them and have to develop an understanding of what can be achieved by them, how and with whom. Actors have to gain knowledge about opportunities and constraints, they have to construct and interpret what can be achieved by them. In order to reach their goals they also have to gain knowledge about other actors, their resources, goals and strategies. From the perspective of political science two clarifications seem important. First, knowledge is, even understood as technical expertise, not neutral or valuefree ‘but enters the political field in advocational or mediary form: to support and to defend certain positions, to attack the position of opponents’ (Nullmeier 1993: 179, translation by the authors). Following the logic of expertise and counterexpertise measures may be questioned or approved because of new knowledge. In this sense, knowledge is similar to power, dispersed and distributed unequally and used strategically (Flyvbjerg 1998). The resulting distribution and application of knowledge is directly related to questions of legitimacy and of effectiveness since the inclusion or exclusion of specific knowledge forms via filtering processes determines both the capacity of solving the problem posed and the acceptance of the policy. On the other hand, the dispersed character of knowledge always offers opportunities to question hegemonic problem definitions and world views. In this sense ‘behaviour can be constrained by power, problem definitions cannot’ (Jachtenfuchs 1997: 2). This empowering or even subversive character of knowledge is closely related to the existence of a critical public. Second, knowledge does not enter as such into a policy process but passes through institutional and individual filter processes (see Nullmeier 1993) and enters as specific bundles of different knowledge forms. It seems indispensable to underline the connectivity and interdependence of (i) structuring processes which form a set of case-specific governance arrangement and knowledge and (ii) processes of selecting and applying knowledge within the action arena via discursive practices into action. On both levels processes of filtering knowledge takes place which result in
Governance and knowledge 67 the inclusion or exclusion of certain forms and contents of knowledge (and respective actors or knowledge holders). In this respect we can distinguish two different knowledge-related filtering processes (see Figure 3.3).
3.3.1 Structural filtering and bundling of knowledge: the constitution of KnowledgeScapes How the potentially available knowledge is transformed and bundled into a specific and often place-bound action arena depends on a first structural filtering process. This filtering process (which can be characterized as a process of structuration) results in a specific place-, context- and actor-related combination or bundling of different knowledge forms and their respective interactive dynamics. Matthiesen coined the term ‘KnowledgeScape’ for these formations. KnowledgeScapes are defined as interactional settings, within which case-specific bundling processes of knowledge forms and case-specific knowledge contents operate via discursive practices (for a extended version see Matthiesen 2005, 2006 and chapter 5). The existing (or available) KnowledgeScape offers actors the opportunity to select appropriate knowledge forms (that is world views, action frames, arguments etc.). In some respects it makes sense to draw a line between knowledge as a ‘product’ or ‘resource’ (epistemology of possession) and knowing as the ‘process’ of cognitive operations which are closely linked to action (epistemology of practice) (Amin and Cohendet 2004). Knowledge can be considered as a ‘stock’ that needs to be accumulated, maintained, conserved, activated, distributed and translated for technical, economical or political action. Without these activities knowledge will be devaluated, dispersed, or at least forgotten. Therefore knowledge as a specific resource and ‘asset’ cannot be built up, maintained and developed without entering into social interaction dynamics and discursive practices. We have to distinguish this filter from actor related filtering processes (or knowledge choices) which are part of the action arena. Despite the fact that knowledge is distributed unequally and therefore causes a relative difference between knowledge and non-knowledge (seen from the perspective of the respective knowledge holders), the first filtering process may be divided further by introducing a substantive difference between knowledge and specified and unspecified non-knowledge resting outside the action arena. Specified non-knowledge is there but does not enter the action arena and therefore does not inform the choice options of actors for various reasons such as dubious scientific reputation, political power, institutional mechanisms, lack of resources for research etc. Here non-knowledge is a form of knowledge not-yet-known, but the gap is formulated as a problem of further inquiry or research (‘We know what we don’t know!’, Wehling 2004). Unspecified non-knowledge is non-knowledge in a very fundamental sense: we don’t know that we don’t know, we are not able to know. The knowledge about anthropogenic causes for climate change was simply not there 30 years ago. The gap between knowledge and non-knowledge can be reduced by research. This has obviously been the case in research on climate change in the last 15 years (Demeritt 2001).
68 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman However, new discoveries in natural science or economics produce new nonknowledge as chains of causality are perceived to get longer and longer and the contingencies therein can never be avoided (second order problems, non-intended side effects). What counts as valid knowledge and specified non-knowledge is the result of dynamic processes of filtering and trading of knowledge which can result in abrupt knowledge turnovers or long-term paradigm changes. So the KnowledgeScape rest on ‘universal’ social processes of choices of knowledge (Nullmeier 1993) of what the problem is about and what the challenges and opportunities for solving them are in a very general sense. Through a first filtering process a knowledge formation takes place by which those aspects of the ‘attributes of the physical world’, the ‘attributes of the community’ and the ‘rules-in-use’ are determined which are relevant for actors’ discursive interaction in particular action arenas. For instance: Only a part of expert knowledge enters into the ongoing public discussion on sustainability issues like emission trading or air pollution control. Only a specific spatial level (as a level of aggregation of knowledge contents) may be determinant for the formation of KnowledgeScapes. This can be the small scale level in one sustainability issue (e.g. place-related in an environmental assessment) and a larger scale level in another issue (e.g. region/nation-related in a strategic environmental assessment). In a given sustainability discourse we may have leadership of expert knowledge or leadership of a milieu-specific knowledge form (local knowledge). We may find a coalition of the two knowledge forms and their crucial contents against the rest or a dualistic conflict between two types of knowledge references and value-systems (e.g. community knowledge against global expert knowledge). Because of the importance of selective knowledge choices and knowledge filtering our research strategies have to be sensitive to the bundling of knowledge forms to create KnowledgeScapes understood as a composition of different knowledge forms. This composition is structured according to specific validity claims (e.g. differentiated beliefs and images of exploitation vs. conservation of nature in a medium-sized residence town or in a large industrial city). A knowledge formation can be related to the evolution of a firm network in a given industry over a period of time – or in another ‘community of practice’. It can also be related to a regional or urban system of spatial proximity with specific cultural validity claims, embedding different sectors of activity and different social actors. They are far from being internally homogenous. The dominant governance arrangement and the particular KnowledgeScape – expressing a specific selection of potentially (or universally) available knowledge – form an opportunity structure in the action arena for the actors interacting in a particular action situation to solve a problem. In such a situation the actors selected to take part in interactions in the action arena (in a more or less influential/empowered/privileged way) enter into discourses and debates about the interpretation of what the concrete problem at that stage is about and how to solve it. A key research goal here is to detect patterns of filtering and transaction processes in action arenas. Such processes of filtering lead to a choice of interpretation (‘Deutungswahl’; Nullmeier 1993) available (or offered) by the particular KnowledgeScape linked
Governance and knowledge 69 to the action arena. In this second filtering process actors in a particular action situation ‘mobilize’ the knowledge provided by a KnowledgeScape and select or agree on the selection of the knowledge which seems to be relevant (or appropriate) to them for choosing a particular course of action to achieve a specific policy outcome. These processes can also be understood as struggles over the meaning of a policy. Discursive practice and interactional settings lead us to a second filtering process which is directly related to the concrete policy episode under scrutiny. Through the second filtering process the spectrum of knowledge forms is further restricted to the ones which are finally taken into account in debates/discourses about concrete choice of action (‘Handlungswahl’; Nullmeier 1993), i.e. concrete output-related action/decision. However, participating in a discourse is not the same thing as the finding and making of decisions. Access to the formal decision-making arenas is restricted by the configuration of rules as described above: Boundary rules, information rules, Action-oriented processes of governance Governance arrangement Outcomes/findings
Action arena Action situations Actors Filtering processes
Interest holder Knowledge holders Stake holders Rights holders Space holder etc.
(Decisions, plans, programmes, impacts, opinion, hegemonies, etc.)
Discourses Choice of action
Evaluative criteria for sustainability
(comprehensiveness, aggregation, consistency . . .)
Discourses Interpretation + choice of knowledge
Evaluative criteria for governance processes (Legitimation, efficiency, effectiveness . . .)
Reflective knowledge Learning
KnowledgeScape Structural filtering processes Institutional economic, steering etc.
Expert, product etc.
Local milieu etc.
Physical/material technical conditions
Attributes of the community
Rules in use
Change in conditions/attributes of community
Figure 3.3 The GFORS concept6
70 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman position rules etc. But there is a strong mutual influence between the ongoing discourse (arguments, opinions, values, estimations) and the ongoing decision process (see, for example, the analysis of the processes of ‘Rebuilding Roombeek West’ by Denters and Klok 2003). Therefore, we have to speak of a co-evolution of discourse and decision-making and of co-evolution of KnowledgeScapes and the institutional arrangements of rules. In this very general sense KnowledgeScapes and governance arrangements reflect an opportunity structure for collective action: on the one hand they limit the course of actions and the policy choices of actors and on the other hand they enable actors to interact in a certain way and to make use of perceived opportunities for reaching desired policy objectives or outcomes. In this sense a certain KnowledgeScape and a particular governance arrangement form an action arena. Figure 3.3 shows how a revised IAD model represents these ideas. The complex ‘causalities’ within these interactions prevent easy theory building. The impact of institutional as well as individual filtering on a KnowledgeScape which is situated in time and place may be thought of as a simple process with clear dependent variables. However, two insights from ongoing research and theory prevent us from accepting this assumption. 1 The first filtering process and the related formation of a specific KnowledgeScape depend already on an interplay with the governance arrangements which has gained dominance within the action arena. This does not mean that ‘rules in use’ impact one-sidedly on the first filtering process and respectively on the action arena. Instead, it has to be emphasized that the given ‘rules in use’ are being shaped by an interpretation of the problems to be solved, the challenges to be addressed and the conflicts to be resolved – and a related choice of knowledge. In this way governance modes are related directly to the ‘rules in use’, but how they are mixed in particular governance arrangements depends crucially on certain perceptions of appropriateness as well as assumptions about causality, i.e. knowledge choices.7 The choice to address the world-wide problem of climate change (CO2 emissions) by emission trading and not by taxation or law and order politics can be taken as an example of such processes. Obviously these processes are genuinely political processes which points to the exertion of hegemony and raises questions of legitimacy.8 2 An existing KnowledgeScape has a recursive influence on the selection of new knowledge. In organizational science Cohen and Levinthal coined the term ‘absorptive capacity’ to describe mechanisms of knowledge exploration. They argue that ‘the ability to evaluate and utilize outside knowledge is largely a function of the level of prior related knowledge’ (Cohen and Levinthal 1990: 228). Existing stocks of knowledge and practices of knowing to some extent form a structure of resonance which determines the extent and direction of collective learning.
Governance and knowledge 71 We argue for the need to analyse cases of crisis and conflict as representing special opportunities for research. In this way it becomes easier to investigate the structuring processes at stake and their different interactional layers. Crises, shocks, conflicts, unintended interruptions of formal procedures serve as heuristic devices for the observation of interactions between knowledge and governance and the respective filtering processes. Here, too, boundaries between knowledge forms and their institutional embeddings are approved or disputed, re-arranged or coupled with governance arrangements and their respective bundled knowledge forms. These couplings may be challenged, strengthened or reinvented, a process sometimes called innovation. It is only in and through those complex KnowledgeScapes and bundling processes that knowledge becomes a factor of the political world. Therefore, analysing a political issue such as case-specific governance for sustainability-types, we have to identify not only the knowledge forms implicated but also the intervening KnowledgeScapes. We can do this by identifying and constructing the discursive and interactional settings in the action arena of a given case (e.g. Air pollution control in the city region of Athens or downtown restructuring in Aalborg). The relevance of actor constellations and their structuring through certain governance modes for the process of combination or bundling different knowledge forms into a specific ‘KnowledgeScape’ is undeniable because they shape opportunities and constraints for exercising power and influence. In this way not only are certain forms (or aspects) of knowledge neglected (non-knowledge), but at the same time particular actors – i.e. knowledge holders, right holders etc – or professions are not only favoured which means that they gain and strengthen their influence (as they are perceived as holders of valid scientific or local knowledge). It is also crucial to recognize that some actors gain access to the action arena while others do not. The exclusion of actors and their respective knowledge is obviously linked to the form of rule configuration (boundary rules, position rules, etc.).
3.4 Feedback and outcomes in the model Outcomes can result in institutional change and impact on the ‘physical world’ and the related ‘community’. In this sense our analytical model has a dynamic trait (see Ostrom 2005, who also tries to integrate ‘change’ into the IAD approach). Under ‘outcomes’ we will capture a broad spectrum of ‘findings’ to be detected in the empirical analysis. Policy outcomes in a narrow sense (used in case-specific policy analysis), i.e. the implementation of certain programmes, plans, etc. can have a direct effect on the ‘attributes of the physical world’, the ‘attributes of the community’ and the ‘rules-in-use’ insofar as they are changed. Furthermore, is has to be taken into account that ‘outcomes’ in a broader understanding are the objective of evaluative processes – both of the involved and affected actors as well as of scholars. In our project we use two sets of evaluative criteria: one related to the question of sustainability (comprehensiveness, aggregation, consistency, see Chapter 1 on sustainability), another directly related to the quality of governance processes – namely legitimation (input-throughput and output-legitimation) efficiency and effectiveness
72 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman (cf. Haus and Heinelt 2005: 14–16). However, it has to be emphasized that we distinguish (as well as Ostrom et al. 1994: 36) between the evaluation of outcomes by (a) scientists (using the above mentioned criteria) and (b) individuals or groups of individuals acting in the action arena, which will lead to additional evaluative criteria like fairness, norms of reciprocity, individual gains, effective use of knowledge potentials and reflectivity. We will refer here to options and conflicts regarding a given KnowledgeScape (e.g. hegemonically bundled knowledge forms). This is clearly the domain of reflective knowledge which enables the development of forms of self-description of the various knowledge forms and the questioning of their validity claims. Furthermore, we will take into account the possibility of successful failure of governance arrangements as a form of institutional learning. Changes in the given set of ‘rules in use’ as an experience based learning process is an area in need of further investigation as institutional change is rarely seen as a process of systemic learning. However, recent developments in institutional theory may offer us a good starting point for conceptual clarification.
3.5 Conclusion In this chapter we developed an analytical model to reflect upon and analyse these recent developments and changes in governance – knowledge interactions. This model also suggests possible changes in the analytical perspectives on these developments that will enable us to develop a better and more informed understanding of the relationships between governance and knowledge. As in many other policy fields we have observed a growing variety of governance mechanisms and instruments in environmental politics. In particular the use of cooperative and market-like instruments is considered to be a reaction to the failure of former approaches to environmental politics in the 1980s and 1990s (e.g. the failure of the strong state model and related top-down regulation). While this shift in governance has been described in extenso we have sought to highlight what has so far been a neglected dimension of governance for sustainability: the possible co-evolution of KnowledgeScapes (representing the knowledge dimension) and governance arrangements (representing an institutional approach) in environmental politics. In part this reflects the wide ranging discussion on the development of posttraditional knowledge societies, which has recently become a key part of the broader discussion on environmental politics and sustainability (Voß et al. 2006; Grunwald 2004; Jamison 2001). We also share the contention that the handling of environmental problems is based on the integration and processing of various forms of knowledge which influence the actors’ world views, assumptions about causality and decision making. Knowledge about environmental issues is dominated by highly professionalized and codified forms of knowledge such as expert knowledge, technical knowledge and scientific knowledge. Only rcently have other forms of knowledge, such as local knowledge or everyday knowledge, come to the centre
Governance and knowledge 73 of attention (Fischer 2000; Jamison 2001). Today we can expect knowledge about envionmental problems to be plural heterogeneous nd ambiuou.
Notes 1 It might be argued that this condition of risk and uncertainty has been with us for a very long time as life has been always uncertain, but we think that consciousness of this condition has increased significantly in recent years and we now see it on a more structural or systemic level. Furthermore, we see uncertainty not only as a part of the human condition but as problem for governing as ‘policy and science in these settings . . . do not give attention to source of uncertainty broadly, but typically elevate attention to a limited domain of uncertainties and neglect others’ (Hajer and Laws 2006: 419; see also Newig et al. 2008). 2 For the differentiation between bargaining and arguing see also Chapter 4 on the cognitive turn in political science. 3 The applicability of this framework in empirical analysis has been demonstrated in respect to issues of sustainability (see – beside Ostrom et al. 1994 – for instance Haus and Heinelt 2005) 4 See also Klok and Denters 2003, and Heffen and Klok 2000. 5 The following table is primarily based on Heffen and Klok 2000 (and of course Ostrom et al. 1994), but we also refer to Ouchi 1980, Bradach and Eccles 1991, Powell 1990, Lowndes and Skelcher 1998 (to mention a few). 6 It should be mentioned that the original figure (Figure 3.1) has been changed graphically in so far as the boxes for the ‘attributes of the physical world’, the ‘attributes of the community’ and the ‘rules-in-use’ have been shifted from the left to the bottom just for technical reasons. 7 The depicted coevolution of discourse and decision making – and the coevolution of knowledge formations and institutional arrangements of rules – also takes place between different governing orders in which the interaction can differ according to the dominance of (i) specific modes of political interaction (arguing, bargaining, majoritarian decision and hierarchical interventions), (ii) the topic of interactions (agreeing on images, deciding on specific institutions and policy content, implementing defined policy objectives/ programmes) and (iii) the reference points of interactions (ethical standards, legitimacy, effectiveness/efficiency). 8 Here the mass media and the wider public have to be considered as an intervening variable. Knowledge-based policy advice (by scientists acting as political knowledge entrepreneurs) is no secret business anymore but a public performance (see Nullmeier 2005: 131).
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Governance and knowledge 75 Jamison, Andrew (2001) The making of Green Knowledge: environmental politics and cultural transformation, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Jessop, B. (1997) ‘The governance of complexity and the complexity of governance: preliminary remarks on some problems and limits of economic guidance’, in Amin, A. and Hauser, J. (eds) Beyond market and hierarchy, Elgar: Cheltenham. —— (1998) ‘The rise of governance and the risk of governance failure: the case of economic development’, International Social Science Journal, No. 155: 29–45. —— (2002) ‘Governance and Metagovernance: On Reflexivity, Requisite Variety, and Requisite Irony’, in Heinelt, H., Getimis, P., Kafkalas, G, Smith, R. and Swyngedouw, E. (eds) Participatory Governance in Multi-Level Context: Concepts and Experience, Leske & Budrich: Opladen. Keil, R. and Debbané, A.-M. (2005) ‘Scaling Discourse Analysis: Experiences From Hermanus, South Africa and Walvis Bay, Namibia’, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 7(3): 257 – 276. Kooiman, J. (2002) ‘Governance. A Social-Political Perspective’, in Grote, J. and Gbikpi, B. (eds) Participatory Governance: Political and societal implications, Leske & Budrich: Opladen. Le Galès, P. (1998) ‘Regulations and Governance in European Cities’, International Journal of urban and Regional Research, 22: 482–506. Lowndes, V. and Skelcher, C. (1998) ‘The dynamics of multiorganizational partnerships: an analysis of changing modes of governance’, Public Administration, 76: 313–33. Matthiesen, U. (2005) KnowledgeScapes. Pleading for a knowledge turn in socio-spatial research, Working Paper. Erkner: Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning (IRS) www.irs-net.de/downloads/KnowledgeScapes.pdf, Sept. 2005. —— (2006) ‚Raum und Wissen. Wissensmilieus and KnowledgeScapes als Inkubatoren für zukunftsträchtige stadtregionale Entwicklungsdynamiken?’ in Tänzler, D., Knoblauch, H. and Soeffner, H.-G. (eds) Zur Kritik der Wissensgesellschaft, UVK, Konstanz. Mayntz, R. (1998) New Challenges to Governance Theory, Jean Monnet Chair Papers 50. The Robert Schuman Centre at the European University Institute, Florence. Miller, C. A. (2007) ‘Democratization, International Knowledge Institutions, and Global Governance’, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 20(2): 325–57. Newman, J. (2001) Modernising Governance, Sage: London. Newig, J., Voß, P.-J. and Monstadt, J. (eds) (2008) Governance for Sustainable Development. Coping with Ambivalence, Uncertainty and distributed Power, Routledge: London. Nullmeier, F. (1993) ‘Wissen und Policy-Forschung. Wissenspolitologie und rhetorischdialektisches Handlungsmodell’, in Héritier, A. (ed.) Policy-Analyse, Kritik und Neuorientierung, Westdeutscher Verlag: PVS-Sonderheft 24, Opladen. —— (2005) ‘Knowledge and Decision-making’, in Sabine M. and P. Weingart (eds) Democratization of Expertise? Exploring Novel forms of Scientific Advice in Political Decision–Making, Springer: Dordrecht. Ostrom, E. (1999) ‘Institutional Rational Choice: An Assessment of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework’, in Sabatier, P. A. (ed.): Theories of the Policy Process, Westview Press: Boulder. —— (2005) Developing a method for institutional change, Working Paper delivered at the symposium on ‘Who Should Do What in Environmental Governance: Institutions and Constraints,’ held at the Porto Conte Ricerche (PCR) Centre in Tramariglio (Alghero), Sardinia, Italy, September 21–24, 2005.
76 Heinelt, Held, Kopp-Malek, Matthiesen, Reisinger and Zimmerman Ostrom, E., Gardner, R. and Walker, J. (1994) Rules, games and common-pool resources, The University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor. Ouchi, W. G. (1980) ‘Markets, Bureaucracies, and Clans’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 25: 129–41. Owens, S., Petts, J. and Bulkeley, H. (2006) ‘Boundary work: knowledge, policy, and the urban environment’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 24: 633–43. Pierre, J. and Peters, G.B. (2000) Governance, politics and the state, Macmillan: Basingstoke. Powell, W. (1990) ‘Neither Network nor Hierarchy. Network forms of Organisation’, Research in Organisational Behaviour, Vol 12: 295–336. Radaelli, C. M. (1995) ‘The Role of Knowledge in the Policy Process’, Journal of European Public Policy, 2(2): 159–83. Rhodes, R.A.W. (1996) ‘The new governance: Governing without Government’, Political Studies, 44: 652–67. Rosenau, J. N. (1992) ‘Governance, Order, and Change in World Politics’, in Czempiel, E.-O. and Rosenau, J. N. (eds): Governance without government. Order and Change in World Politics, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Rydin, Y. (2007) ‘Re-Examining the role of knowledge within planning theory’, Planning Theory, 6(1): 52–68. Scharpf, F. W. (1997) Games real actors play: actor-centered institutionalism in policy research, Westview Press: Boulder Colorado. Schmitter, P. C. (2002) ‘Participation in governance arrangements: is there any reason to expect it will achieve “sustainable and innovative policies in a multilevel context”?’ in Grote, J. and Gbiki, B. (eds) Participatory Governance, Leske & Budrich: Opladen. Shields, P. M. (2008) ‘Rediscovering the Taproot: Is classical Pragmatism the Route to Renew Public Administration?’, Public Administration Review, 65: 205–21. Stoker, G. (2000) ‘Urban political science and the challenge of urban governance’, in Pierre, J., (ed.) Debating Governance, Oxford University Press: Oxford. Van Kersbergen, K. and van Waarden, F. (2004) ‘Governance as a bridge between disciplines: Cross-disciplinary inspiration regarding shifts in governance and problems of governability, accountability and legitimacy’, European Journal of Political Research, 43: 143–71. Voß, J.-P., Bauknecht, D. and Kemp, R. (eds) (2006) Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham. Voß, J.-P., Newig, J., Kastens, B., Monstadt, J. and Nölting Benjamin (2008) ‘Steering for Sustainable Development: a Typology of Problems and Strategies with respect to Ambivalence, Uncertainty and Distributed Power’, in Newig, J., Voß, P.-J. and Monstadt, J. (eds) (2008) Governance for Sustainable Development. Coping with Ambivalence, Uncertainty and distributed Power, Routledge: London. Wagenaar, H. (2004) ‘“Knowing” the rules: administrative work as practice’, Public Administrative Review, 64(6): 643–55. Wehling, P. (2004) ‘Reflexive Wissenspolitik: Öffnung und Erweiterung eines neuen Politikfeldes’, Technikfolgenabschätzung. Theorie und Praxis, 13(3): 63–71. Williamson, O. E. —— (1975) Markets and Hierarchies, New York: Free Press. —— (1996) The Mechanisms of Governance, New York: Free Press.
4 The cognitive turn in political science Frank Nullmeier, Tanja Kopp-Malek and Steffen Schneider
4.1 Introduction Since the mid-1990s, the role of “belief systems,” “frames,” “ideas,” “narratives,” “paradigms,” “schemata,” or “knowledge” – and of communicative processes, the exchange of arguments, and learning – has received increasing attention in a number of political science sub-disciplines grappling with the explanation of political decisions, outcomes, and change.1 This chapter provides an overview of the cognitive turn in political science and locates the analytical framework of the Governance for Sustainability project within it. First, the discovery of knowledge by rational choice theorists and institutionalists is contrasted with a constructivist perspective. The link between ideas and the concepts of knowledge forms, hegemony, and discursive dominance is explored in the next two sections. In the remaining two sections of the chapter, we discuss the relationship between learning and knowledge forms.
4.2 Rational choice, institutionalism, and the cognitive turn As diverse, or even incompatible, as the theoretical rationales and methodological foundations of the approaches subsumed under the notion of a cognitive turn may be, they all tend to be grounded in a certain scepticism vis-à-vis two prominent approaches to the study of political reality: institutional perspectives, on the one hand, and rational-choice models, on the other. According to their critics, these approaches either fail to provide a satisfactory explanation for the scope and direction of change in situations that are presumably (as institutionalists would have it) determined by institutions, or they neglect the issue of preference formation and alteration (which is usually treated as exogenous by rational-choice theorists; see Maier 2003: 46–9). By contrast, the growing amount of literature in the wake of the “cognitive” (Nullmeier 1997), “constructivist” (Checkel 1998), “argumentative” (Fischer and Forester 1993; Saretzki 2003), or “ideational” (Blyth 1997) turn in political science highlights the importance of concepts such as knowledge and learning for an adequate understanding of preference formation and transformation. However, although these authors have done us a great service in redirecting our attention to ideational factors, there is still an open discussion about just what sort of a perspective the ideational approach is, what its core assumptions are, and whether
78 Frank Nullmeier, Tanja Kopp-Malek and Steffen Schneider it constitutes a distinct perspective with a full-fledged research program.2 In the policy literature, approaches sensitive to cognition have by now achieved quite an important position, as The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy (Moran et al. 2006) and The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis (Goodin and Tilly, 2006), among others, demonstrate. But even these texts do not reveal a uniform approach or school of thought. Moreover, there has been a considerable – and important – diffusion of the cognitive turn and its concepts to a variety of basic paradigms, notably including rational choice and institutionalism. According to some of the approaches that supplement rational choice theory with knowledge-related elements, ideas may be understood as hooks that have no independent impact on political decisions but help actors to pursue their interests under conditions of uncertainty. Other theorists, such as Goldstein and Keohane (1993), suggest three different causal pathways by which ideas may affect policies in a rational choice framework. First of all, ideas serve as road maps, and hence limit choice, because they exclude competing interpretations of reality. They may, secondly, act as focal points that define co-operative solutions or as a glue that keeps coalitions together. And finally, embedded in rules and norms (institutions), they constrain policy in the absence of innovation by affecting the incentive structures of political actors. Finally, cognitive factors, habits, and frames have also been incorporated into rational choice theory by way of concepts like “bounded rationality” (Simon 1982). However, the discovery of knowledge and ideas ultimately remains limited, and “whatever the details, in the rationalist view interests are given” (Goldstein and Keohane 1993:4; see also Yee 1996 and 1997). The cognitive turn’s effects on institutionalism have been much more substantial. In policy research and various other fields of political science, such as European studies, institutionalist approaches have gained a prominent position in recent years. This development began with the proclamation of a “new institutionalism” in the wake of James G. March’s and Johan P. Olsen’s seminal journal article (1984) and monograph (1989) but the powerful competition of the new institutional economics soon made it necessary to distinguish between several institutionalisms. Peter A. Hall’s and Rosemary Taylor’s (1996) distinction between three institutionalisms is now all but canonical; they classify March and Olsen as representatives of a sociological institutionalism. A third form, historical institutionalism, soon emerged besides the sociological and economic institutionalisms (Steinmo et al. 2002; Thelen 2005). In recent years there have been efforts to establish a fourth type of institutionalism which may be seen as a more radical branch of the sociological and historical institutionalisms and notably reacts to their deficits in explaining policy change (Maier and Wiesner 2007: 613). It is primarily known under the headings “discursive institutionalism,” as in Vivien Schmidt’s writings (2002, 2003, 2006a and 2006b), and “constructivist institutionalism,” as in Colin Hay’s work (2001, 2002 and 2004). The presumptive advantage of both approaches lies in their greater ability to explain processes of change, “because discourse serves to redefine interests and reconfigure interest-based coordination; to reshape structures and follow new historical paths; and to reframe rules and create new norms” (Schmidt 2006a: 250).
The cognitive turn in political science 79 But even this discursive institutionalism does not represent a genuine ideational turn akin to social constructivism. Probing the causal effects of knowledge and ideas, Vivien A. Schmidt, for instance, aims to distinguish cases according to the extent to which discourse matters. Her assumption is that discourse, just as any other factor, sometimes matters, sometimes does not in the explanation of change. The question is when does discourse matter, that is, when does it exert a causal influence in policy change, say, by redefining interests as opposed to merely reflecting them in rationalist calculations, and when are other factors more significant . . . (Schmidt 2006b: 114) However, the underlying epistemological perspective on discourses put forward in citations such as this one can hardly be reconciled with a truly constructivist approach. For even where interests are not redefined, interest-based action is performed on the basis of specific, historically transmitted interpretive schemata; even where interests do not change, discourse is therefore not something that “merely reflects” (Schmidt 2006b: 114) interests and rational calculations but rather actively reproduces them. Unlike Schmidt’s discursive institutionalism, genuine social constructivism would insist that the reproduction of those schemata on which our interests (and institutions) are based is an achievement of communication and discourse. Hence “interpretive” or “constructivist” approaches sensu stricto question key rational choice or institutionalist assumptions and refer to sociological theories such as the sociology of knowledge or social constructivism instead (Berger and Luckmann 1991; Finlayson et al. 2004; Nullmeier 1997; Schaber and Ulbert 1994; Wendt 1992 and 1999). These genuinely constructivist approaches assume that interests are not exogenous but rather endogenously defined by way of collective interpretations of reality, the construction of shared meanings and problem definitions. To understand the way actors come to know what they want is therefore essential for the analysis of political processes. In this context, ideas defined as knowledge about reality play a central role, since they serve as a filter through which the world is interpreted and made sense of, thus guiding action. Knowledge, in turn, has cognitive and normative elements, at various levels of abstraction (Maier and Wiesner 2007: 613–15). Whereas the normative dimension refers to accepted values of right or wrong, providing compelling ethical and moral motivations for action, the cognitive elements of knowledge suggest cause-effect relationships, insights about the state and functioning of the world. The cognitive dimension thus offers guidance for the achievement of desired objectives defined at the normative level. However, ideas not only constitute the framework through which interests are defined but also the one through which “external” factors (e.g., institutional arrangements or the goals, resources and strategies of other actors, and hence the opportunities and constraints associated with specific action arenas and situations), are perceived. In a constructivist perspective, external factors such as the attributes of the physical world, attributes of the community and rules-in-use are therefore not defined as competing explanatory variables but rather conceptualized
80 Frank Nullmeier, Tanja Kopp-Malek and Steffen Schneider as knowledge held by actors about those factors. For them to be influential, they constantly have to be reproduced or transformed in processes of social and communicative interaction (see also Chapter 2).
4.3 From ideas to knowledge forms: terminological clarifications Empirical research in the wake of the cognitive turn requires a basic term for the interpretive schemata to be analyzed. In Berger and Luckmann’s (1991) social constructivism, the term knowledge assumed this role, and it was used in a very broad sense. By contrast, the recent Anglo-Saxon debate in policy research privileges the concept of ideas (Blyth 1997 and 2002; Hall 1989 and 1993; Hay 2001, 2002 and 2004; Jacobsen 1995; Majone 1996; Steinmo 2003; Walsh 2000). However, the term is frequently linked with a search for major ideological shifts, complex bodies of knowledge, and innovative concepts – in short, consideration of the “big ideas that make politics.” This particular connotation entails the risk of distorting our perception, and it is of little help when policy fields that are not characterized by fundamental secular change are analyzed. Put differently, “idea” is too big a word to capture the everyday framing of political action through knowledge. Moreover, once we talk about ideas, it is hard to prevent their confrontation with interests and institutions as distinct, competing explanatory variables. Yet while the relationships of these three concepts may be and have been explored in a variety of ways, many of them do not appear very useful or promising for the reasons given above (Crawford 2006; Hochschild 2006; Lieberman 2003; Maier 2003; Price 2006; Yee 1996 and 1997). Three alternative concepts have therefore become rather widespread in the policy literature: beliefs (Converse 1964; George 1979; Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith 1999), frames (Ferree et al. 2002; Laws and Hajer 2006; Rein 2006; Snow 2004), and narratives (Stone 2002). Advantages and disadvantages of these concepts are usually assessed in terms of their epistemological implications. Whereas beliefs refer to a rather individualist conception of ideas and attitudes “in the heads” of actors, frames and narratives point to structures that are available in the inter-subjective space of language. An alternative kind of assessment probes the extent to which each of these three concepts links normative, evaluative, and descriptive elements. Yet another perspective may be chosen to characterize different perspectives or degrees of abstraction in the examination of interpretive schemata. Beliefs, then, denote the wealth of individual attitudes; they comprise everything from the most fundamental value orientations to assessments of particular situations and causal relationships. In short, the term refers to the entire volume of interpretive schemata at the micro level. Frames and narratives, by contrast, are located at a meso level of abstraction, capturing bundles of beliefs. Like narratives, which are anchored in story lines and plots, frames link various smaller elements of knowledge. Finally, to examine the creation and use of interpretive schemata at the macro level, and to probe their relationship with institutional settings, actor constellations and governance modes, we may use the concepts of “knowledge forms” and “KnowledgeScapes.”
The cognitive turn in political science 81 Such a broad understanding of knowledge implies that it may be characterized by different contents and levels of generalization in different action arenas, that it may be explicit or tacit, codified or non-codified, institutionalized or personalized, embedded in varying knowledge cultures, and so on. But the variety of knowledge forms is even greater than these conventional dichotomies suggest. No less than nine forms of knowledge characterized by specific validity claims are therefore distinguished in the context of the GFORS project, including everyday life, expert and reflective knowledge. The term KnowledgeScapes, then, refers to case-specific or place-bound mixes of heterogeneous knowledge forms (see Chapter 5 for details). A focus on knowledge forms entails several advantages: First, the empirical analysis can start at a more abstract level. Whereas research that zeroes in on beliefs or frames must deal with specific contents in order to distinguish a particular set of beliefs from others, concrete propositional contents may be neglected in the analysis of knowledge forms. For instance, it does not matter whether a causal relationship linking a chemical substance with diseases is constructed in this or that fashion; it only matters that we are dealing with a proposition of the expert knowledge form. Second, this more abstract approach reduces the complexity of the discourse analytical work to be performed (see Chapter 6). Third, and perhaps most importantly, the pragmatist perspective that underpins the concept establishes a link between knowledge and discursive practices, processes of communicative interaction, and policy making; knowledge may, then, be perceived as an asset or resource, and learning – to which we turn in the final two sections of this chapter – as the set of cognitive operations in which it is produced.
4.4 Hegemony and discursive dominance: linking knowledge and power Empirical research on knowledge forms must consider the relationship between knowledge and power; knowledge is unequally distributed, and there are hegemonic problem definitions and worldviews, even if these may be challenged and transformed by subversive knowledge (Laclau and Mouffe 1985; Nonhoff 2004 and 2006). In any case, if the entire volume of statements pertaining to a given policy were conceived as equally pertinent units of the related policy discourse, without consideration of dominant positions (the preponderance of certain types of statements); one would not be able to recognize structures in the many-voiced choir of utterances. But how can this dominance be recognized at the surface of discourses? The search for repetitions, and hence a look at frequency distributions, provides us with the appropriate empirical indicators. For claims that are advanced frequently, that constantly reappear in discourses, perhaps in slightly modified but still recognizable variants, may be said to dominate; they are hegemonic. But how does a particular element of knowledge come to dominate a discourse? What are the prerequisites of discursive dominance? Two groups of factors may be distinguished: The repetition of claims or the frequent use of particular interpretive schemata is linked with the chance of actors propagating such claims or schemata to participate in the discourse. Favourable conditions of access to discursive arenas permit
82 Frank Nullmeier, Tanja Kopp-Malek and Steffen Schneider an actor’s frequent presence in them and enable her to repeat specific utterances. Access to discursive arenas, in turn, depends on institutional rules but also on money, time, and reputation. There are actors who are able to create discursive opportunities through the use of resources (for instance, organizing a conference with relevant participants). Actors may secure their own access or block it for others by establishing such discursive opportunities, or by increasing and limiting their number. Discursive events may be created, and there is a kind of discourse event management by actors who see themselves as discourse entrepreneurs. Of particular importance is the decision to pursue such courses of action in public or non-public discursive arenas. For instance, discursive spaces may be created that are closed to the wider public, geared towards the communicative exchange of elites, or perhaps reserved for decision makers altogether. Hence there is such a thing as the arcanum of discourses. Empirical research is unlikely to be successful in capturing this level but it might at least be possible to establish if such exclusive circles of communication exist or not. It is equally crucial to identify major opportunities of public debate and to establish whether these opportunities are tightly linked, or even identical, with the decision-making processes themselves, or whether they are merely located in the environment of formal decision-making channels. Hence we may define discursive power as the capacity to create discursive spaces, to ensure their reproduction, and to have privileged access to them. These factors are prerequisites of cognitive dominance. Linking such considerations with the concept of governance arrangements, we have to ask which opportunities these arrangements offer for managing (i.e., reducing or expanding) the supply of discursive sites, and for opening up or closing access to them. Yet the repetition of pieces of knowledge, or the frequency of knowledge use in discourses, does not only depend on resources and institutional opportunities; it is also, and not the least, an intrinsic phenomenon of discourses. It is not possible to make a statement or present a piece of knowledge that all other discourse participants consider to be conspicuously meaningless or false. Otherwise, one would expose oneself to ridicule, or be permanently confronted with contrary opinions that prevent the achievement of discursive dominance. It is, by definition, impossible to secure discursive dominance against the expressed beliefs of (too) many others. If expressed knowledge provokes a barrage of opposing voices, hegemony cannot be achieved. At best, such a situation can lead to a bipolar distribution of opinions and related propositions, that is, a situation where two bodies of knowledge, neither of which is able to become dominant, clearly oppose each other. Only where an actor enjoys a very high degree of discursive power, and access to a discursive arena is strictly blocked, an otherwise controversial position may not be confronted with competing opinions and challenging arguments. The capacity of knowledge to assert itself in discursive contexts because validity is attributed to it represents a second form of discursive power. Such knowledge, then, is adopted and repeated out of conviction. These two forms of discursive power are, no doubt, difficult to disentangle from each other in empirical research. The frequency of knowledge use may be due to the same actors presenting their knowledge repeatedly, or letting their acolytes
The cognitive turn in political science 83 repeat it for them, or it may be based on the fact that a piece of knowledge asserts itself as convincing. The decision to examine discursive dominance not at the level of individual beliefs, frames, or narratives but at the level of knowledge forms, or types of knowledge, facilitates this empirical work. The guiding question as to whether particular knowledge forms dominate discourses can also help in the identification of reflective knowledge: According to its definition, this type of knowledge exists where no other knowledge form dominates and knowledge forms are broadly dispersed, that is, in a context where the contributions of these various knowledge forms are not linked with absolute validity claims but rather qualified. Besides a broad dispersion of knowledge forms, an atmosphere emphasizing the limits of each represented knowledge form must therefore prevail before one may speak of the dominance of reflective knowledge. Thus one may identify a strong presence of reflective knowledge in a context where citizens know about the limited reach of their local knowledge, natural scientists admit to the complicated prerequisites and the always conditional validity of their results, economic knowledge is voiced without dogmatism, and so on. And it is necessary to not only collect data on this knowledge form itself but also on the degree of “certainty” with which stocks of knowledge are presented. At least in order to identify reflective knowledge, one will have to develop an indicator for the revealed willingness to question and verify one’s own knowledge. In all cases where no dominance or hegemony of a single knowledge form can be established, one is likely to be faced with mixes between knowledge forms, each with its specific selectivity and relative frequency.
4.5 From knowledge to learning: the reproduction and transformation of knowledge forms As it is linked to the cognitive turn in political science, the term “learning” has also received increasing attention in recent debates about policy change and its underlying causes.3 In this context, (experience-based) learning is usually conceived of as a process of redefining the interests and objectives of actors on the basis of “new” knowledge that affects the fundamental beliefs behind their actions and may therefore foster policy change. As suggested above, knowledge in this sense includes certain assumptions about causality as well as normative judgements about the nature of a problem and viable solutions. However, although a burgeoning literature already exists in contemporary International Relations and policy analysis that aims to come to grips with processes of policy learning, several questions remain unsettled. The most pressing ones concern the conceptualization of mechanisms through which learning occurs, the development of normative criteria for assessing learning processes and results, as well as empirical approaches to the study of learning. Research has, in other words, mainly focused on the question of “what has been learned” (results or outcomes of learning) so far, leaving the central questions of “how it happens” (processes or mechanisms of learning) and “how to normatively evaluate learning processes and outcomes” unanswered.
84 Frank Nullmeier, Tanja Kopp-Malek and Steffen Schneider The non-normative orientation of most of the recent research on learning is particularly surprising. After all, considerations related to governmental learning were already linked to practical objectives in the early 1980s (Etheredge and Short 1983; Haas 1991; Bandelow 2003). This first wave of research not only asked whether public policies were changing in a specific way but also whether new beliefs reflected a more accurate picture of reality or led to more effective policies. However, in subsequent years, most researchers in the learning field have taken an analytical position in which almost any belief change could potentially be considered as a form of learning (Levy 1994; Knopf 2003). Research on learning was, in other words, transformed into the mere study of leaders’ beliefs, and of the ways in which they are shaped by experience, while normative concerns were sidetracked. This approach to learning is certainly legitimate but it neglects the normative connotation implied in the concept of learning. To say that people have learned something tends to signify, in ordinary language, that they have achieved some kind of improvement. And in fact, this mostly positive connotation of the word learning explains why the term figures so prominently in public and academic debates. The development of normative criteria for assessing learning processes is therefore a highly relevant and promising task for future research on learning (Nullmeier 2003). Nonetheless, recent research has been mainly concerned with the determination of elements of knowledge that are altered during learning processes, and with the latter’s impact on actual policy outcomes (Bandelow 2003: 304). In this context, it is usually assumed that the collective knowledge base – a particular KnowledgeScape – is subject to different kinds of learning, depending on the extent to which it is altered during such processes. On the basis of early studies in organizational science, in which three different types of learning (“single loop learning,” “double loop learning,” and “deutero learning”) were brought up for discussion (Argyris and Schön 1978), the literature on policy-oriented learning basically distinguishes two different types of processes: instrumental forms of learning, on the one hand, and complex or social forms of learning, on the other (May 1992: 336). Whereas the first one could be described as environmental adaptation reflected in marginal changes of policy and rule systems, the second one is likely to result in a restructuring of norms, central strategies, and assumptions associated with these norms. It may therefore trigger substantial changes in policies and their guiding paradigms (Hall 1993), and it also involves a transformation of problem perceptions and guidelines for action. Because of the link between complex learning processes and the alteration of major elements of the knowledge base, complex learning seems to be markedly difficult. Actors are anxious to protect their identities (reflected in their core beliefs and basic assumptions of how the world is functioning) by way of selective perception and analysis, so that the accommodation of new knowledge crucially depends on its ability to fit into existing core beliefs. Therefore, new situations are preferably processed by way of changes in the peripheral assumptions (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith 1993; Wiesenthal 1995), and it is assumed that for complex learning
The cognitive turn in political science 85 processes to occur, changes in external factors (such as the economic situation or the power structure) are essential. Regardless of whether one form of learning is more demanding than the other, the previous considerations highlight the fact that within recent work on learning, two basic dimensions are frequently referred to in order to describe the changes resulting from a learning process: cognitive developments affecting primarily the knowledge base, on the one hand, and behavioural developments reflected in new actions and policy outcomes, on the other. Even though this distinction is implicitly or explicitly made in a number of learning concepts, it is often not systematically taken into account when learning is empirically analyzed, and when attempts are made to describe the results of learning processes. However, this is of crucial importance, since changes in behaviour may occur without any cognitive development. Similarly, knowledge may be gained without any accompanying change in behaviour; for instance, the connection between learning and individual actions might be disrupted by roles (e.g., job descriptions, standard procedures) that are too rigid to leave enough room for the translation of individual experiences into action. Such processes could be characterized as instances of “blocked learning” (Levy 1994: 290).4 Against this background, it is essential to note the difference between cognition and behaviour, for not only do they represent two different phenomena but one is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the other. Therefore, the challenge is to find ways to make cognitive developments explicit and observable without inferring from behavioural changes that cognitive ones have occurred, or vice versa. However, the central methodological question of how to empirically investigate learning processes has so far received only scant attention and remains ill-understood (Maier et al. 2003). Besides this, work on policy learning is frequently lacking a clear answer to the question of “who is actually learning” (the so-called learning subject), or policy learning is personalized as “the process whereby decision makers revise their current policy choices in the light of past mistakes” (John 1998: 205). Yet as soon as we explore knowledge and learning in connection with the term governance, we are not first and foremost dealing with individual learning processes, as the terms learning and knowledge would suggest. Instead, we are referring to organizational or even inter-organizational learning processes, since the notion of “actors” employed within the governance literature primarily focuses on collective actors, that is, organizations or other types of collective units (Benz 2006: 4). We therefore need to analyze forms of knowledge held by collective units (e.g., organizations, inter-organizational networks, or milieus) and their alteration. Knowledge in this sense can be understood as representing the “inter-subjective, (socially) shared constructions of reality” (Berger and Luckmann 1991) that entail shared hypotheses of the actors about collective behaviour and its consequences. Correspondingly, the use of the term learning within the conceptual framework of the GFORS project does not only capture individual learning processes that might be a precondition for collective learning processes. Instead, the focus of the project is more on learning processes of collective actors that lead to the application
86 Frank Nullmeier, Tanja Kopp-Malek and Steffen Schneider of forms of knowledge that are agreed upon by the members of the relevant policy community, given the accepted validity of this knowledge and its perceived utility for future actions. To some extent, current approaches to learning have begun to modify the personalized view of policy learning by emphasizing the role of networks, policy communities, or advocacy coalitions (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith 1993 and 1999) as arenas for collective steering and learning processes but they hardly address the ensuing question of how to conceptualize the processes in which collective learning occurs (Kissling-Näf and Knoepfel 1994: 99). In other words, how can we think about the shifting relevancy of “old” and “new” knowledge in a policy community – is the shift going to happen (i) as a collective process of arguing, (ii) as a result of strategic interaction (bargaining), (iii) as mutual adjustment taking place regardless of the intentions of actors (on the market), or (iv) as an adjustment within the hierarchical setting of a formal organization? These questions inevitably lead us to another issue – the learning process itself. The central question of “how learning happens” thus still remains open. Fortunately, since the mid-1990s, there has been an intense debate within the subdiscipline of International Relations linked to the “argumentative turn” in political science, highlighting the role of communication and argumentation in processes of preference formation and transformation, and referring to the theory of communicative action developed by Jürgen Habermas (Müller 1994; Risse 2000). In this perspective, politics is not only about the exchange of fixed, exogenously defined interests pursued by way of strategically oriented bargaining processes but also about the collective construction of shared meanings and the definition of problems through processes of arguing. Bargaining and arguing are two different modes of interaction that are based on communication. With bargaining, the aim of the parties involved is to defend their positions by applying bargaining power, such as material and legal resources or exit options, and by leaving preferences and positions unchanged. With arguing, specific positions are developed and jointly adopted on the basis of empirical evidence, internal consistency, and impartial assumptions (Gehring 1996; Müller 1994; Saretzki 1996; Susskind 2006). A position can be legitimately defended or altered only if good and acceptable justifications that convince the other players can be presented. Such a process of preference transformation can be linked to the term learning. Introducing communication based on arguing as a means of reaching mutual understanding and fostering collective learning processes implies that the actors are able to mutually question their beliefs, to challenge the validity claims involved in any communication, and to try to convince each other to change their causal and principled beliefs in order to achieve a reasoned consensus (“verständigungsorientiertes Handeln”): “And, in contrast to rhetorical behaviour, they are themselves prepared to be persuaded. Successful argumentation means that the “better argument” carries the day, while ones material bargaining power becomes less relevant” (Risse 2000: 9). However, the relevance of (a differentiation between) these distinct modes of social interaction has rarely been taken systematically into account in recent research on learning, and even less so in general discussions of learning mechanisms; the same holds true for the related
The cognitive turn in political science 87 question under which conditions arguing is likely to occur and to proceed in a way that fosters collective learning processes.
4.6 Knowledge forms, actors, and coalition building The knowledge-based approaches so far used in policy research have put forward categories that denote the relationship between knowledge and actors, and that are supposed to describe which groups favor and support which type of knowledge. The best-known concepts are those of advocacy or discourse coalitions, and of epistemic communities (Adler and Haas 1992; Haas 1992; Sabatier and JenkinsSmith 1993 and 1999). Is it possible, however, to infer a specific knowledge form from the actor uttering a particular statement? Propositions by researchers are frequently treated as if every one of their statements could be interpreted as scientific knowledge. If it was possible to proceed like this, no more than an ex ante attribution of knowledge forms to actor groups would be required, and the empirical study of knowledge forms would be more or less dispensable. The complexity of a discourse analytical research perspective could thus be avoided. Learning processes and the acquisition of reflective knowledge would only be triggered by shifts in the actor constellations, and not in the actors’ knowledge. But it is precisely the latter issue that we are dealing with here, and to explore it one has to perform a more differentiated analysis at the level of statements. While it is certainly permissible to formulate hypotheses about the closer or looser relationship between particular types of actors and knowledge forms, it is precisely the deviant cases that are of interest in a learning theoretical perspective. Hence it is particularly interesting to see scientists rely on steering knowledge, or to observe business representatives who try to score points by citing scientific research, engineers who refer to institutional rather than product knowledge, or representatives of political institutions who highlight a particular local knowledge. Such deviations and the establishment of actor-specific knowledge-mixes can enable links between actors. The creation of knowledge-form coalitions is certainly facilitated by shared knowledge forms on all sides. Again, one has to keep in mind that such an analysis would best concentrate on the level of knowledge forms, and not the level of individual beliefs or frames. For instance, we might well observe the eruption of an argument about the question of air pollution in the academic sphere. But at the level of knowledge forms, the participants in this argument should not be considered as opponents. Agreement at the level of knowledge forms may even be particularly conducive to debate because it is difficult to argue if there is no common basis whatsoever. Yet the notion of discourse and advocacy coalitions implies the agreement of actors at the level of beliefs and frames. Discourse coalitions are built around contents, while knowledge form coalitions are not. These two types of agreement between actors have to be distinguished thoroughly. Comparing the effects of discourse coalitions and knowledge form coalitions in the policy process is a way to verify if knowledge forms play the expected role.
88 Frank Nullmeier, Tanja Kopp-Malek and Steffen Schneider
4.7 Conclusion This chapter gave a brief overview of the cognitive turn in political science and its theoretical background and suggested a few possible routes for the empirical analysis of knowledge in political science. The discovery of knowledge and ideas has, in fact, been a rather ubiquitous phenomenon in recent years, comprising approaches as diverse as rational choice theory and the various new institutionalisms. However, as we attempted to show first, a genuinely constructivist position goes beyond merely supplementing rational-choice and institutionalist frameworks with ideas as yet another variable besides interests and institutions, and instead highlights the constitutive role of knowledge. Second, we made the case for the use of the term “knowledge” (and of knowledge forms or KnowledgeScapes) rather than the competing term “ideas.” These concepts notably appear to offer certain advantages for empirical research. However, as we went on to show, the analysis of knowledge forms, their reproduction and transformation has to come to terms with the power structures built into discourses. Third, we linked the issue of knowledge reproduction and transformation with the concept of learning. Here we argued that recent adaptations of the concept by the policy literature continue to be plagued by certain shortcomings and blind spots – shortcomings that may, in part, be corrected in the empirical analysis of learning processes by taking up the concepts of bargaining v. arguing in a more serious and systematic fashion. In a final step, we discussed the relationship between knowledge forms, learning, and actor types. Here we warned against the conflation of specific knowledge forms and actor types, distinguished between knowledge form coalitions and discourse coalitions, and suggested that instances where actors stray away from their privileged form of knowledge deserve particular interest in the analysis of policy learning and change.
Notes 1 This is especially true for the sub-disciplines of comparative political economy and policy analysis (Braun 1999; Campbell 1998; Fischer 2003; Fischer and Forester 1993; Majone 1989; Radaelli 1995), for international relations (Checkel 1998; Deitelhoff 2006; Guzzini 2000; Jacobsen 2003; Schaber and Ulbert 1994; Wendt 1992 and 1999; Williams 2004), and for EU studies (Diez 1999; Hay and Rosamond 2000; Jachtenfuchs 1996; Marcussen 2000; Radaelli 1997; Waever 1998). Broader overviews of the cognitive turn and its variants are given in Berman 2001; Maier 2003; Maier and Wiesner 2007; Nullmeier 1993 and 1997; Rueschemeyer 2006. 2 Even key terms like ideas or knowledge are not consistently defined or applied in the family of ideational approaches. For example, ideas are understood as beliefs held by individuals, by (a constellation of) collective actors or by society as a whole and they are completely decoupled from specific actors where the existence of a direct, constitutive link between discursive elements (such as narratives, story lines, etc.) and policies is maintained (Diez 1999; Waever 1998).
The cognitive turn in political science 89 3 See, for example, Bennett and Howlett 1991; Freeman 2006; Hall 1993; Howlett and Ramesh 1993; Kissling-Näf and Knoepfel 1994 and 1998; Maier et al. 2003; May 1992; Rose 1993; Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith 1993. 4 In studies on organizational learning the possibility of blocked learning processes is already taken into account. Following March and Olson’s (1975) “incomplete learning cycle,” Kim (1993) has, for example, mapped out a number of learning disturbances which underpin the necessity to differentiate between cognitive and behavioural development.
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5 The zone of knowledge transactions Recent tendencies in knowledge production, knowledge sharing and the trading of knowledge from a socio-spatial perspective Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger
5.1 Introduction Recent decades have witnessed the development of a series of coevolutionary processes between knowledge and society and between societal organizations. This has entailed the enhancement of interaction dynamics and their particular competence-base. These processes considerably strengthened the role of knowledge – in its many forms and innovation cycles, with its dramatically decreasing validity times and differentiated institutional arrangements. In this way knowledge has become a key resource, crucial catalyst and reflective medium not only for economic developments, but for socio-spatial processes and therefore sustainable development approaches in general. The up- and down-grading of creative versus industrial cities, intensified interrelations between universities, R&D and economic stakeholders on the regional and global level are vivid examples of this. These co-evolutionary processes are caused by, or at least strongly linked to expertise, creativity and the timely adoption of technological changes; in other words they are due to progress in knowledge, education and research. As these types of knowledge become more and more important for making a living, creating jobs, founding enterprises or sustaining a city’s or a region’s economic position, many authors conclude that knowledge itself is changing its nature or character. As we spend increasing time in utilizing, sharing or creating new knowledge, the value and relevance of certain ‘bits’ of knowledge may change rapidly and significantly.1 The overall effects of this development on society and its sustainable development represent a central topic of current debates on knowledge, sustainability and space (Amin and Cohendet 2004; Meusburger et al., 2008; Meusburger et al., 2009; Matthiesen 2009b and 2009c). For the first time, the contours of a prospective knowledge-society are becoming clearer, emphasizing learning and education. However, this historical development has not taken place without conflicts, clashes, counteractions, unintended consequences or throwbacks – and with a systematic increase of non-knowledge. Tied to this global transition process, an exiting range of institution-building processes,
The zone of knowledge transactions 95 discourse shifts and new challenges for governance have emerged (see Chapters 1–4). They are accompanied by and fostered through the social construction of new, often unique, spatial forms – interaction zones and knowledge arenas. In this chapter, we will concentrate on one such interface and its growing importance: the zone of knowledge transactions. We will discuss it from an interdisciplinary socio-spatial perspective. The increasing importance of knowledge transactions (including the electronic and conventional media), of transaction zones and their respective scopes and spaces is strengthened by the fact, that over the last two decades there has been an enormous increase in the numbers of actors, institutions and organizations engaged in the production, refinement, absorption, translation, dissemination and use of knowledge. This stretches from the concrete proliferation of sites of knowledge production through a quantitative and qualitative increase of individual and institutional actors engaged in securing knowledge advantages, and on to the creation of new knowledge-producing institutions. This multiplication of knowledge sources, of individual knowledge workers and institutional knowledge producers almost inevitably leads to the greatly increased significance of knowledge transactions, which entails establishing a peculiar zone of knowledge-centred and knowledgebased interrelationships. In this chapter, we seek to clarify some of the essential processes, functions and professional roles in these ‘zones’ of knowledge sharing and mutual knowledge production. First we will outline some findings and observations from different disciplines, which identify the decisive role of knowledge transactions and the possible functions of knowledge transaction zones. This includes a closer look at spatial and governance-related issues and an outline of our own understanding of knowledgesharing interrelations within governance arrangements. Particular reference will be made here to knowledge forms and knowledge conflicts, to knowledge domains and KnowledgeScapes within the relevant transaction zones of knowledge (cf. Matthiesen 2009b and 2009c).
5.2 The increasing relevance of knowledge within transaction zones A brief overview of the major topics and themes in knowledge research reveals that scientific discourse attributes an increasing relevance to knowledge in many societal fields. In recent years we have witnessed a growing number of encyclopaedic synopses on knowledge research (e.g. Meusburger 1998; Meusburger et al. 2008, 2009; Tänzler et al. 2006a and 2006b; Schützeichel 2007), which emphasize this trend. In order to characterize the shift within the field of knowledge research we use the term ‘knowledge turn’ (Matthiesen 2005, 2009a, 2009b and 2009c). The ‘knowledge turn’ has created a range of highly differentiated positions and diverse empirical approaches towards the topic of knowledge from economic, sociological, philosophical, geographical, historical and epistemological viewpoints. For our analysis of knowledge transaction zones, we consider the following approaches particularly significant:
96 Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger Galison in his seminal work on Microphysics (1997) attempts to explain, how science itself has altered the mode of knowledge production, knowledge use and sharing. He introduced the useful concept of trading zones, expanding its meaning far beyond market relations and economy-based processes. Parallel to the so-called laboratory studies (e.g. Knorr-Cetina 1981) Galison demonstrates how within these zones professionals of different backgrounds and disciplines delimit the hard meaning and definition of their objects of analysis. As a result of the necessity to work in teams and to fulfil common research agendas in order to communicate they have invented a new ‘pidgin’ language. Through such operations they have created new trading zones for mutually sharing knowledge, ideas and objects. Gibbons et al. (1994) and Nowotny et al. (2001) present a generalized and expanded view on these new spaces and interrelations. In their view, new types of knowledge production have not only altered the sciences, but also the societal contexts of science – a new paradigm which they call ‘Mode 2’. The Mode 2 knowledge production type is socially more distributed, inter- or even trans-disciplinary, reflexive and dialogical in style and has spread to increasingly diversified societal sites. Consequently, in Mode 2 contexts traditional notions of accountability are revised and new forms of quality control developed. Society and science meet in a new manner and in new transaction spaces where the Mode 2-type of knowledge production finds its manifestation. In this sense, transaction spaces can be seen as a generalized form of trading zones. An ever growing array of knowledge management approaches take their starting point from Polanyi’s (1958 and 1967) studies on personal knowledge and its tacit dimension. Tacit (or personal knowledge) refers to unconscious, routinized and not easily explained abilities of individuals, which in Polanyi’s view are only transferable by socialization. In contrast to tacit knowledge, disembodied explicit knowledge forms represent the main stock of knowledge, transferable in articulated ways and reproducible by following its creation rules. In this context, Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) explored knowledge-creating processes in East Asian companies and concentrated on possible transaction styles to codify tacit knowledge. They developed the far-reaching thesis that these codification processes may serve as major sources for knowledge creation in organizations. Nonaka and Takeuchi identified four distinct modes of knowledge conversion between tacit and explicit knowledge: socialization, externalization, combination and internalization. Subsequently, Nonaka and his fellow researchers argued for the harnessing of explicit as well as implicit knowledge components within organizations as key resource of sharing knowledge. Berger and Luckmann’s (1966 and 1995) social-constructionist view of reality provided new insights into the role and function of knowledge as a key constitutional layer of reality and our everyday-as well professional lives. Their approach had a substantial and long lasting influence on the re-formulation of the sociology of knowledge (see Knoblauch 2005), concentrating on the interactive construction of knowledge sharing processes. Pragmatist approaches (Peirce Dewey, Mead) have also regained their importance in recent years (e.g. Strübing 2005). They share the conviction, that knowledge unless related to social action is inconceivable. In this
The zone of knowledge transactions 97 way knowledge is systematically linked to our capacity to act (including speech acts etc.). In both approaches knowledge is tightly bound to the everyday life of individuals, advocating continuity in thinking, acting and knowing – and at the same time increasing the possibility of reflecting and ‘choosing among projects of action’ (Schütz 1951/1967). Concepts of communities of action (and knowledge) (Escobar 1994) are also closely connected to pragmatist views on knowledge. Theories of spatiality and place making have provided additional input for the analysis of knowledge transaction zones. Examples here include studies that tie knowledge to the formation of ‘sticky places’ (Markusen 1996, Malecki 2000), to knowledge regions and learning regions (e.g. Matthiesen and Reutter 2003), to proximity constellations (e.g. Malmberg and Maskell 2001; Rallet and Torre 2005) or to sites and locality (e.g. Berking 2006). Due to the increased exchange of knowledge and information in different knowledge transaction zones and between different public, private, economic and non-profit actors, new strategies and rules have emerged to filter knowledge content. Jöns (2006) shows, by refining actor-network theory (Latour 1987), how in the academic realm the global stratified structures of sites of academia come to life and gain their relevance via mobile scholars and new knowledge nomads, establishing creative relations between ideas, objects, places, equipments, events and people. In this context it should come as no surprise that the issue of intellectual property rights, including the rights and restrictions to knowledge access, and the possibility that this may harm future innovation and knowledge creation, have become major topics of debate. Between these poles of conceptual approaches the expanding zone of knowledge transactions can be identified more precisely. It is here that knowledge, information and data are shared, absorbed or mutually produced and where knowledge spillovers, cognitive flows and knowledge conflicts (Meusburger 2008; Matthiesen 2005) create the basis for innovation and learning at the local, societal and global level.
5.3 KnowledgeScapes and knowledge forms Transactions in the fields of knowledge sharing and knowledge production are by no means new phenomena. However, as the societal value of knowledge increases, along with improvements in the speed of codified knowledge flows and the relevance of knowledge advantages, new constellations and questions arise. Not only ‘big’ questions such as the causes, functions and structural effects of knowledge transactions and the integrative effects of knowledge cultures, but much ‘simpler’ questions: What kind(s) of knowledge transaction actually take place here? How can these specific transactions be observed and described, particularly their ‘tacit’ and ‘implicit’ component? How are these knowledge transactions linked to new governance arrangements? In order to study different types of knowledge-based interaction dynamics in detail, we started with these seemingly ‘simpler’ questions. It proved helpful to approach them using the concept of KnowledgeScapes, which includes a strong reference to spatial relations. We defined KnowledgeScapes as the interplay of formal, strategic interactions networks with informal, milieu-like
98 Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger networks. We found that KnowledgeScapes were always embedded in wider knowledge cultures (see Figure 5.1). Research on minimal and maximal contrasting cases, ranging from peripheral lock-in-driven micro networks of practice to innovation-centred global player-teams (see the research overview in Matthiesen and Mahnken 2009 and Matthiesen 2009c), illustrated the multiplicity of interaction and transaction dynamics taking place within different KnowledgeScapes. The research heuristics of KnowledgeScapes permits the in-depth analysis within the zones of (sometimes conflicting, sometimes metaphoric, sometimes creative, sometimes boring) knowledge trans-lations, trans-actions and trans-codings. Two remarks on the KnowlegeScapes-approach will have to suffice for the moment: a Empirical data emphasizes the importance of crisis and conflict in the analyses (see the arrows in Figure 5.1). The increase in competition pressures or shortage
Soft networks Knowledge milieus (KM)
Hard networks KM
Knowledge milieus (KN)
Levels of interaction I
Knowledge cultures (KC) Translations trading zones
The habitus of a specific city-region
Figure. 5. 1 Three levels of knowledge-based interactional dynamics: options and conflicts
The zone of knowledge transactions 99 of resources certainly aggravates conflict potentials within the transitory zone of knowledge transactions and their filtering processes. Dissonances between different knowledge forms and their validity claims (see Figure 5.2) serve as an additional generator of conflicts, and, in consequence, of arguing about resource allocation (see e.g. the case of Enschede in Denters and Klok 2003). In addition, we found disputes over access to or exclusion from knowledge, or conflicts between soft and hard knowledge networks (for more detail see Matthiesen 2005). Crises, shocks or conflicts are examples of unintended interruptions in routine action chains. Heuristically important for knowledge-centred interaction studies, the focus on these events increases our chances of gaining access to translation processes from implicit to explicit knowledge; and it helps us in the study of situations, in which ‘the new as the new’ is generated (Oevermann 1991). Other typical phenomena within the zones of knowledge transactions are processes of knowledge absorption, leakage-constructions and bypasstechniques, intended to circumvent established instruments of knowledge control. b A kaleidoscope of new knowledge-centred professional roles was discernible – displaying ambivalent features. On the hand there are the winners; we identified the structural expansion of knowledge elites, knowledge angels, knowledge
1. Knowledge of everyday life Implicit/explicit
3. Product knowledge
2. Expert/ professional/ scientific knowledge
_ _ 9. Reflective _ knowlege
_ 4. Steering/ _ _ management/ _ _ leadership _ _ knowledge _ _ _ _ _ 5. Institutional _ _ knowledge _
7. Local knowledge
6. Economic and market knowledge
Figure 5.2 The ‘Knowledge Flower’. Source: UM/IRS 2006.
100 Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger entrepreneurs and knowledge troubadours (Serres 1997), who successfully costructure their KnowledgeScapes within the transaction zones. On the other and somehow ‘darker’ side of the knowledge society local knowledge profiles and professional competences continuously are devalued and long-lasting as well as far-reaching (digital) dividing effects emerged. Thus, within the processing modes of KnowledgeScapes we found clear indications of new knowledgebased disparities, and few indications of the promised ‘eternal Sunday’ of a future knowledge-society. In order to improve the fine tuning of our empirical knowledge analyses, we needed to differentiate the knowledge-complex further into nine specific forms of knowledge. To sum up the central arguments here: 1 Knowledge of everyday life and common-sense relevance structures enable us to act within life world environments and everyday praxis networks. This crucial knowledge stratum (Berger and Luckmann 1966; Habermas 1984) is often neglected or underrated within recent knowledge theories and economyoriented knowledge management approaches. It is in emerging new knowledge typification processes and in knowledge conflict situations (Grathoff 1989) that its crucial impact becomes apparent. In addition, knowledge of everyday life enables continuous flows and translations between other knowledge forms and serves as the base line and training ground for abductive reasoning. In this respect it represents the essential deep structure for the more specialized or expertise-oriented knowledge forms. On the other hand mediated through experience-based pragmatic motives actual types of everyday knowledge are increasingly hybridized and permeated via trivialized and/or generalized forms of professional expert knowledge. At the same time relevance structures of everyday knowledge influence science-based product technologies and high tech consumer goods constructions, e.g. via the stronger demand side orientation of product development or the strengthening of new forms of ‘socially robust knowledge’ (Nowotny et al. 2001). 2 Expert/professional/scientific knowledge encompasses codified knowledge expertise (Sprondel 1979) reaching from low via low mid and high mid to high technology fields (Hirsch-Kreinsen et al. 2005). In post-traditional knowledge societies this form of knowledge mostly derives from scientific-technological backgrounds and its ‘objectivity’ remains entangled in various societal rationales and pictorial traditions (Daston and Galison 2007). On the other hand, the growing economic and political importance of expertise of professionals, administrators, planners and lawyers often becomes encapsulated into accessrestricting exclusive knowledge cultures encompassing soft knowledge milieus as well as hard strategic knowledge networks. These exclusive formations of knowledge are in constant danger of becoming too homogenous and too hermetic, therefore diminishing creativity and innovation. Improved forms of expertise therefore try to lower some barriers – systematically facilitating
The zone of knowledge transactions 101
knowledge spillover processes between different actors, disciplines, professions and knowledge cultures. Product knowledge contains technological knowledge in a narrower sense, including the specifics of product-oriented low-, mid- and high-tech knowledge forms (cf. Hirsch-Kreinsen et al. 2005). Particularly in the case of high-tech knowledge it experiences rapid innovation cycles. Alongside this more traditional experience-based forms of skill, craftsmanship and product knowledge, of head and hand combinations (cf. Sennett 2008) have continued to evolve. These forms are sometimes in conflict, sometimes in creative complementarity with mid- and high-tech knowledge forms and their increasingly fast innovation styles. Steering knowledge (including management and leadership knowledge) stretches from a) steering competencies in informal (though targeted) cooperation types of milieus via b) empowering strategies of governance modes in strategic networks to c) formal bureaucratic design principles of the top down hierarchical control type. Steering knowledge includes knowledge regarding contracts (employment, etc.) and the knowledge of how to successfully construct career models. On the macro- and meso-level of post-traditional knowledge societies this knowledge form increasingly is confronted (and therefore actively has to deal) with the steering problem of spatially crucial brain gain/brain drain processes, resulting in the co-presence of new disparities between growth, stagnation and shrinkage areas ‘cheek to cheek’. Institutional knowledge is knowledge about the systemic and functional logics of behaviour-structuring rule systems within organizations and formal as well as informal institutional arrangements. It includes knowledge about institutional design principles. Institutional knowledge is distributed highly unequally between different actor networks and societal strata. Professional milieus often possess considerable amounts of up to date actualized institutional knowledge – including the resource-based capacity to use and renew it. In contrast, culturally marginalized milieus in particular are usually dependent on outdated institutional knowledge, and seek to address these deficiencies via ‘soft’ personal knowledge networks and informal institutional knowledge. Economic (market) knowledge – as a crucial variant of institutional knowledge deals with a special form of efficiency within markets, relational contracts, hierarchies and firms. As such it strives to improve prosperity and to maximize rates of return. It comprises selected information about the profitable allocation of resources and may include additional social goals within the logics of institutional rational choice chains (e.g. the improvement of harmonious relations between competitive partners or mid- and long-term perspectives on sustainability). In this sense it transcends antinomic system-life world-distinctions (Habermas 1987). Economic knowledge is systematically linked with and structured by the crucial interaction medium money, focusing on calculations concerning production and transaction costs, trade offs, exchange rates, etc. It has to deal organizationally with the diminishing validity time of relevant market information. The scientification of economic knowledge and the general increase of complexity within globalized economic networks challenge the
102 Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger ‘rules of thumb’ of experienced economic actors, even though the unpredictability of concrete growth-stagnation-shrinkage cycles always seem to have to rely on their abductive reasoning potentials. 7 Local knowledge addresses locally situated forms of knowledge-based competencies, integrating more or less systematically fragments of different knowledge forms at the local level. This knowledge form operates in close contact with both everyday and professional experiences. In good practice-contexts it can function as a source for strengthening local self-organizing capacities and social forms of creativity; in other contexts it may foster lock-in and exclusion processes, strengthening non-innovativeness. In most cases it will operate in between these extremes. A key question is how to organize governance strategies in order to improve local knowledge types as effective mixes of different knowledge structures and competency profiles. 8 Milieu knowledge circumscribes the social processes of cognizing ‘how things normally function’ within different hard and soft networks, within institutions and organizations. Mainly generated by practical experience within typified behavioural settings and embedded in inter-actional contexts, milieu knowledge can range from ‘locked in’ milieus and their hermetic knowledge types to innovative, creative variants of milieu knowledge – allowing a more reflective and/or creative look at conflicts, interests and power relations. Continuous interrelations and shared relevancy structures stemming from ‘knowledge of everyday life’ are crucial here. 9 Reflective knowledge plays a prominent role within the constellation of knowledge forms. In a weak sense reflectivity accompanies all other knowledge forms (cf. points 1–8), generating habitualized translations and structured interdependencies between the respective bundles of knowledge forms and their form-specific validity claims. In a strong sense reflective knowledge questions or confirms the validity claims of knowledge forms (relevance structures, ‘truth’, ‘objectivity’, righteousness, precision, fairness etc.), thereby testing the flexible limits and border zones between knowledge, belief and non-knowledge. In this sense strong reflective knowledge is necessary to evaluate translations between different expert cultures or to produce successful couplings between knowledge forms and governance arrangements. On the other hand it has the potential to irritate or even transcend institutional and organizational boundaries (governmental functions, occupational routines, management truisms), creating opportunities for creative solutions. Next we related the more specific knowledge forms 2.-8. presented above to the institutional resources and rule systems of Ostrom’s IAD-Scheme (cf. Chapter 3, Figure 3.2). In this way a fruitful ‘knowledge turn’ was added to the IAD-Scheme, which provided the basis for our GFORS model of action-oriented processes of governance, this refers to: • •
Physical/material/technical conditions: Expert knowledge, product knowledge Attributes of the community: Local knowledge, milieu knowledge
The zone of knowledge transactions 103 •
Rules in use: Steering knowledge, institutional knowledge, economic (market) knowledge.
In our view knowledge of everyday life (1.) and reflective knowledge (9.) play a specific transversal role. Knowledge of everyday life is present in all forms of knowledge, serving as a resource of general reference and as a starting point of knowledge differentiation. Reflective knowledge is a product of learning and evaluating of knowledge-in-action, coupling and re-coupling the whole process and the different knowledge forms involved. The coupling of the IAD-Scheme and our knowledge forms allowed us to identify interesting parallels and structural affinities (e.g. between the ‘nonobservability’ of institutions as behaviour-regulating ‘rules in the head’ (Ostrom 1999: p53) and the not directly observable knowledge forms as important preconditions of action). This had direct consequences for our fieldwork methodology – analysing forms, boundaries and new types of institutions between interaction dynamics and knowledge forms. The methodological framework and toolbox for our research in the zone of knowledge transactions in this sense includes contextspecific operational tools to identify relevant knowledge forms, discourses and policy processes.
5.4 The bundling of knowledge forms and the formation of KnowledgeScapes KnowledgeScapes are defined as interactional settings (milieus, strategic networks, etc), within which case-specific bundling processes of knowledge forms and case-specific knowledge contents operate via discursive practices (for an extended version see Matthiesen 2005, 2006a and 2006b).2 For instance: Only a part of expert knowledge enters ongoing public discussions on sustainability issues such as emission trading or air pollution control. Only a specific spatial level (as a level of aggregation of knowledge contents) is determinant for the formation of KnowledgeScapes. This may be at the small scale level vis-à-vis one sustainability issue (e.g. place-related environmental assessment) or at a larger scale level in another issue (e.g. region/nation-related in an strategic environmental assessment), while other levels are not present or only weakly. In a given sustainability discourse we may have leadership of expert knowledge or leadership of a milieu-specific knowledge form. We may find a coalition of two knowledge forms and their crucial contents against the rest or a dualistic conflict between two types of knowledge references and value-systems (e.g. local community knowledge against global expert knowledge formation). Given this our research strategies had to be sensitive to the bundling and composition of different knowledge forms. We found, that these compositions were structured according to specific validity claims (e.g. differentiated beliefs and images on exploitation vs. conservation of nature in a medium-sized residence town vs. in a large industrial city). A knowledge bundling formation can be related to a (regional or urban) system of spatial proximity with specific cultural validity
104 Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger claims, embedding different sectors of activity and different social actors. These constellations are far from being homogenous. In addition the example of a single knowledge form (e.g. professional expert knowledge) demonstrated a significant degree of internal heterogeneity. Heterogeneity within one single knowledge form strongly increased through the ongoing evolution of professional and quasi-professional roles such as leakage detectors in expert networks, competition-observers etc. Innovation research demonstrates that a certain amount of heterogeneity of knowledge remains essential in order to be (or remaining) creative/innovative (Amin and Cohendet 2004). It is only through the complex filtering, institutionalizing and bundling processes within KnowledgeScapes that knowledge becomes a factor in the real political, cultural and socio-economic world. Therefore, analysing a political issue such as case-specific governance for sustainability-types we need to identify not only the knowledge forms present but also the intervening filters, institutions and KnowledgeScapes. We can do this by identifying and constructing the discourses and interactional settings in the action and knowledge arena of a given case (e.g. air pollution control in the city region of Athens). The discourse is based on the relevant knowledge forms and their bundling in practice. Within a discourse knowledge enters the action arena and brings its influence to bear (capacity to act). Participating in a discourse is not the same thing as the making of decisions. But there is a strong mutual influence between the ongoing discourse and the ongoing decision process (cf. the analysis of the processes of ‘Rebuilding Roombeek West’ by Denters and Klok 2003). Therefore, we have to speak of a co-evolution of discourse and decision-making and of a co-evolution of KnowledgeScapes and the institutional arrangements of governance rules. Many analytic approaches to this complex field of governance-knowledgeconstellations still utilize dualistic knowledge concepts (e.g. tacit/explicit; codified/ un-codified, know how/know that etc.). We found these inadequate and sometimes even misleading. In every single knowledge form, for example, case-specific mixes between tacit and explicit knowledge components were present. By contrast our typology of knowledge forms allowed us to observe the formation of hierarchies between knowledge forms (with scientific knowledge dominating the others) and the bundling together of different knowledge forms into knowledge domains or even power-infused knowledge regimes. The difficult challenge to define precise border demarcations between different knowledge forms did not ‘spoil’ the role of clear cases within translation and cooperation processes (see Figure. 5.2 and the remarks on reflective knowledge). To a considerable extent, demarcations were linked to the transaction processes of filtering. In this way, the constitution of border zones between knowledge forms became an essential part of our research and provided new insights into the dynamic field within the transactions zones themselves. Knowledge forms thus served as an essential analytical tool for our real-world studies of knowledge transactions (cf. Nullmeier et al., Ch. 4.) Certainly, in posttraditional knowledge societies scientifically generated expert knowledge ranks
The zone of knowledge transactions 105 Bundling of knowledge forms within knowledge domains - steps to operationalize the conceptual framework
KNOWLEDGE BUNDLE 1 EXPERT/ PROFESSIONAL SCIENTIFIC/ PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE
FILTERING TRADING MEDIA
SCIENCE, RESEARCH AND EXPERT DOMAIN
KNOWLEDGE BUNDLE 2 STEERING/ INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE
FILTERING TRADING MEDIA
POLICY AND GOVERNANCE DOMAIN
KNOWLEDGE BUNDLE 3 ECONOMIC KNOWLEDGE
FILTERING TRADING MEDIA
KNOWLEDGE BUNDLE 4 EVERYDAY/ MILIEU/ LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
FILTERING TRADING MEDIA
Figure 5.3 Bundling of knowledge forms within knowledge domains – steps to operationalize the conceptual framework
above any other knowledge form – in finding and furnishing the ‘true’ answers and ‘right’ solutions to urgent questions in environment, economy and society at large. This knowledge form has acquired the undisputed position of a meta-referee within the hierarchy of knowledge forms, at the same time developing and evaluating sustainable techno-social strategies for our vulnerable planet in general. Additionally, reflective knowledge merits attention in knowledge-governance analyses: it proved to be a key factor in the process of finding and developing sustainable policy solutions. Empirically four different knowledge domains became discernible (cf. Figure 5.3): 1. the science, research and expert domain; 2. the policy and governance domain; 3. the market domain; 4. the life world domain. Each domain integrated different knowledge forms. Moreover, we found strong indications of the structural relevance of reflective knowledge as a transversal form of knowledge – structuring developments and integrations within these bundling processes.3
5.5 The ‘Zone of Knowledge Transactions’ and its dynamics within the GFORS project Clearly the zone of knowledge transactions has become a crucial and powerful ‘space’ for the formation of KnowledgeScapes, knowledge cultures and knowledge domains. The practical (and epistemological) importance of the zone of transactions is underlined by a triple fact. Firstly, it is not easy to study ‘knowledge in the head’ in a direct manner. Instead, we have to use practical methods of hermeneutic decoding and life world reconstruction (Habermas 1987) and focus
106 Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger on social interaction dynamics in which knowledge-driven processes become readable, describable and explainable. Secondly, social processes of knowledge sharing, their smooth operation or mal-functioning, the associated conflicts, control mechanisms or bypass-techniques indicate the considerable space-structuring effects of knowledge in general. Thirdly, the growing variety of institutional and single actor arrangements within the production and distribution of new knowledge emphasizes the need for dynamic linkage processes within the zone of knowledge transactions. A major focus of the GFORS project therefore was to study interrelated transaction processes of governance arrangements and knowledge constellations integrating knowledge with action. One key hypothesis was that the arena of action-oriented governance processes is increasingly structured by discursive practices, learning dynamics and deliberative processes; thus discourse analysis was a key research method in our cases. With discourse-analytical instruments we reconstructed specific mixed forms of governance interaction with knowledge and detected the rules in use and patterns of filtering within the dynamic zone of knowledge transactions. These filtering processes of knowledge and their respective discursive practices transcode the rules in action and can result in the inclusion or exclusion of certain knowledge holders, knowledge forms or knowledge contents (cf. Chs. 3 and 8). The research heuristics of KnowledgeScapes offers a helping hand at this point. Using the differentiation between informal milieu networks, formalized strategic networks and case-specific mixes between formal and informal networks (see Figure 5.1) we discovered ‘hidden’ real-world filtering processes of knowledge within transaction zones.
5.6 Linkages and filtering processes in the trading zones of knowledge and governing: first insights Filtering processes within the ‘flow’ of knowledge-based interactional dynamics presuppose shared or contentious translation and transformation rules between different stocks of knowledge and their knowledge holders. Thus the following questions become crucial: What kinds of rules form the basis for these interactions? How do the rules ‘actually’ function? How do they change? These questions are of particular relevance in innovative (policy) communities and their filtering processes, because they are semi-public in nature. It proved to be important to understand how these semi-public knowledge filtering processes were constructed – restricting access to certain knowledge contents and knowledge domains. A trading zone of knowledge, according to Galison, is a chaotic assemblage of disciplines and activities (e.g. in microphysics, where it was shown to be an ‘. . . arena in which radically different (knowledge-based) activities could be locally, but not globally coordinated’ (Galison, 1997: 690)). We use the term trading zone to designate specific ‘local’ linkages and transaction-structures mediating between governance arrangements and KnowledgeScapes. The term ‘local’ here includes different types of proximity, ranging from face-to-face-proximity, via relational
The zone of knowledge transactions 107 and functional proximity forms to knowledge form-specific proximity types (local expert networks, closed or globally organized scientific research networks, communities of practice etc.). This expanded version of localness and proximity implies, that, at least in a constitutive sense, the derived ‘relational’ forms of proximity are related to the mechanisms and communicative functions of trust-generating face to face-relations. The research questions address the social construction processes of proximity structures (e.g. the construction of closeness, of relations of mutual trust, of creative heterogeneity, of conflicts, gaps and fragmentation). Here the so-called ‘politics of networks’ (Escobar 1999) are important, (i.e. the coupling modes of electronic with social networks), in order to structure the trading and transaction zones of knowledge and governing. A number of challenging questions arise: How exactly are these hybrid networks ‘socially constructed’? How efficient are they? How do they operate? How are they able to transcend new k nowledge-based disparities? Knowledge markets also progressively structure the transaction zone of governing and knowledge. Here we see rapid changes of preference orders, of the rationale of demand/supply and of cost-benefit-ratios. The commodification of knowledge is in this context strongly correlated with innovation-oriented property rights and the changing role of patents in knowledge-based economic relations. Even though the risk of being copied remains, this risk has to be increasingly balanced against a new risk in creative parts of the transaction zones, the risk of being misunderstood (see Amin and Cohendet 2004: 143ff; 149). Finally, we had to consider the distinct character of political knowledge markets. Nullmeier uses the term knowledge market in a broader sense to describe rival forms of knowledge and interpretation-schemes with competing validity claims (Nullmeier 1993: 183). Such knowledge markets depend on an adequate supply from competing forms of (technical, everyday, local, scientific) knowledge. They are accompanied by a considerable quantity of ‘magical beliefs’ in a certain policy field, mediated via related forms of communication (mass media, expert cultures, expertise, consultancy; see the examples in Boudon 2001; Nullmeier 1993). These political knowledge markets are characterized by two tendencies: on the one hand by monopolies and oligopolies, on the other hand by pluralistic or more anarchic structuring processes.
5.7 Actor and interaction types within the zone of knowledge transactions Researching typical and atypical actor/knowledge-role constellations proved to be an effective research tool to investigate the complex causalities and dynamic processes that operate within the transaction zone of knowledge and governance. This is in line with the ethnographic research rule: Follow the case, follow the fact, follow the ‘profession’. The social construction of ‘professions’ illustrated the changing meaning and value of ‘knowledge in action’. On the one hand, we found well-established knowledge role formations at work – as in the case of scientific experts (vs. lay persons, Sprondel 1979), inventors and pioneers including their
108 Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger respective networks. They were accompanied by traditional professions such as lawyers, engineers, scientists and researchers, knowledge management specialists, civil servants or specialists in the field of research policies. However, in the new knowledge era of dramatically diminishing validity times of truth claims these role formations, and particularly the central human factor within them, are confronted with accelerating rearrangements in the competency profiles of their profession and service agendas. On the other hand, a group of new quasi-professions emerged within the observed zones – sometimes as a result of heightened international competitive pressures created by the decreasing half-life period of ‘true’ knowledge. We found knowledge brokers at work in cooperation with leakage detectors, competition observers and gate keepers of knowledge; we saw boundary spanners doing ‘whatever works’ (W. Allen) in cooperation with knowledge angels (Muller et al. 2009), knowledge navigators, knowledge absorptionists, knowledge nomads and knowledge troubadours (Serres 1997). In general terms these action patterns are at first informally constructed – due to actual problems and the need to ensure adequate ‘action and knowledge flows’. They become increasingly formalized and institutionalized within new competency profiles and finally end up in new professional roles and formalized professions. Central aims here are, to tap into explicit knowledge, and increasingly gain access to implicit, personal knowledge as well as to bundled skills and expertise on the demand side. In close contact with these social roles of k nowledge development and application new sites of knowledge production emerge. To give a brief characterization of selected functional roles within the knowledge transaction zone: ‘Leakage detectors’ notice and hinder unwanted and illegitimate outflows of knowledge and competencies from firms and other enterprises, from institutions, and even single persons. ‘Gatekeepers’ control access to knowledge in such a way that exactly the right ‘doses’ of knowledge necessary for new creative impulses are available (Amin and Cohendet 2004). These new (and partly very old – Burke 1997; Livingstone 2003) professional/semi-professional roles operate mainly within the transitory zone of filtering and transaction processes – and some of them operate within the new knowledge arenas between governing and knowledge. Their activities, competencies, skills and bypass-techniques continuously structure and restructure the zone of knowledge transactions. Within this process the old duality of expert and layperson unravels. It is substituted or replaced by KnowledgeScapes-like arrangements of professional competency-profiles, of quasiprofessions in cooperation with experienced and well-informed amateurs – and not least by the knowing human factor enforcing these role relations. Often, the key personnel in the action arenas demonstrated a noticeable heterogeneity in professional background, skills, interests and interpretations – confronting and integrating their roles as interest holders, knowledge holders, stakeholders, rights holders and space holders (see Ch. 3) with new tasks of knowledge-based ‘professionals’. Knowledge cultures (see Figure 5.1) as well as communication and trading processes may vary accordingly – sometimes causing crises and creative breakthroughs; sometimes their heterogeneity is too diffuse – leading to nothing.
The zone of knowledge transactions 109 In this way the zone of knowledge transactions and the dynamic interplay of knowledge-based professions and quasi-professions in it, with case-specific institutional rule systems, knowledge forms and knowledge domains in action, proved to be of considerable relevance for transfer processes between governing and knowledge in general. This implies new coupling forms, as already mentioned, ‘from lab to m arket’, from basic research to product and project ecologies. It encompasses locally situated competence milieus, on-site knowledge networks and – in a wider societal perspective – even the ‘ground forces’, ‘helping hands’ and migrational forms of competence within the knowledge society, without whose capacities knowledge troubadours and knowledge elites would not be able to operate creatively. Due to developments in communications technology and electronic media these processes of networking within knowledge transaction zones underwent a quantum leap. Although the supremacy of scientific knowledge within the hierarchy of knowledge forms seems indisputable, the implicit, holistic substratum of personal knowledge (Polanyi 1958 and 1967) questions its constitutive relevance – in the process of creating rules for the selection of knowledge, for estimating its relevance, for synthesizing information and knowledge. Moreover the long held knowledgetechnocratic dream to completely codify the mega-domain of tacit knowledge still struggles with its fuzzy capacity styles. Nevertheless there are intensified intellectual and organizational endeavours and new semi-professions, which seek to codify further components and areas of personal knowledge – in firms, in organizations, in cities, in regions, in many other fields of human action – in order to prevent ‘brain drain’ and to possibly transform it into ‘brain gain’. In multi-level governance arrangements and their different knowledge transaction zones the ruleperspective on rules of translation and transformation between different knowledge stocks, professions, disciplines and stakeholders remains relevant. As was indicated above, the observed filtering processes often have a semi-public character. This fact stimulates questions concerning the quality of this semi-public filter-commodity: What is shared commonly? Where do we find open access? In which way(s) and why is access channelled or forbidden? Knowledge markets within these transaction zones increasingly co-structure this zone as a whole, introducing demand and supply-chains and rigorous cost-benefit analyses.
5.8 Power relations within the zone of knowledge transactions The actual hierarchy of knowledge forms, putting scientific knowledge and the culture of expertise and counter-expertise atop all other knowledge forms incorporates considerable influence and power. Peer review networks are one example of the interactional side product of the undisputed role of scientific knowledge, operating as a super-arbiter within the zones of knowledge transactions. From this position, the formation of knowledge regimes with special knowledge interests and the tendency for monopolizing knowledge, information and data is crucial. Changes or alterations in cooperation styles over time and space indicate new power relations and governance arrangements (horizontal as well as hierarchical), superimposing,
110 Ulf Matthiesen and Eva Reisinger transforming or replacing ‘older’ forms of action coordination within the zone of knowledge transactions. Power-infused KnowledgeScapes not only influence and mould the interrelations between different institutionalized knowledge forms they also heavily influence the knowledge-based interaction dynamics within the transaction-zone as a whole. Since knowledge, learning and R&D became a core element of public concrete hierarchies of knowledge forms, their power-infused relevance regimes are of growing significance, not least, because they are connected with considerable financial and economic resources clustering within particular parts of the KnowledgeSpace.
5.9 Conclusion Actor-related and institutional transfer processes between governing and knowledge represent a core theme of GFORS. This chapter focused on a central area, in which these transfers increasingly ‘take place’: the zone of knowledge transactions. The growing relevance of this transaction zone is underlined by a simple fact: actors, institutions and organizations, which are engaged in the production, refinement, absorption and translation, in the sharing and use of knowledge have increased enormously during the last two decades – in a quantitative and qualitative sense. This necessitates a focus on the growing relevance of the transaction and trading zones and their peculiar knowledge flows which includes a closer look at governance-related arrangements in this zone. In order to do this we proposed a research heuristics to improve the analysis of tricky zone-specific interactional dynamics and knowledge-based governance arrangements. This led us to focus on three lacunae of actual knowledge-governance research: – considerable differentiation within the architecture of knowledge forms, concentrating on the interplay between scientific/expert knowledge, steering knowledge, everyday knowledge and reflective knowledge (reflective knowledge in a weak and a strong sense) (see Figure 5.1) – the research heuristics of KnowledgeScapes, developed in order to reconstruct more precisely crucial interactional dynamics within the transaction zones, concentrating on the interplay of informal knowledge milieus, teambuilding processes and strategic networks within knowledge cultures etc. (see Figure 5.2) – the knowledge bundling processes and the formation of knowledge domains, integrating differentiated knowledge forms and their institutionalized competency profiles (see Figure 5.3). The national case studies of the GFORS-project, using mostly discourse-analytical instruments, mixed forms of governance–knowledge interactions, were able to detect and reconstruct rules in use and patterns of filtering within the dynamic zone of knowledge transactions. Special attention was given to processes of inclusion
The zone of knowledge transactions 111 or exclusion of certain knowledge holders, knowledge forms or even knowledge domains within governance processes, including knowledge markets, property rights etc. The social construction of new professions/quasi-professions within the zone of knowledge transactions (leakage detectors, competition observers, knowledge brokers, knowledge troubadours etc.) – as well as the human factor stemming from the relevance of personal knowledge hereby – gets special attention. In this way our analysis of the zone of knowledge transactions with its dynamic interplay between actors, institutional rule systems, KnowledgeScapes and organizations has shown for the importance of a better understanding of transfer processes between governing and knowledge in general.
Notes 1 In contrast to data and information the term knowledge here is used to indicate cognitive operations with a quite demanding selectivity. Its core function increasingly is to order, select and integrate an exponentially growing stock of data and information within specific types of relevance. Knowledge in this sense incorporates comparisons, judgements and values. It further encompasses the capacity of self-description, reflexivity and abductive reasoning. Therefore, knowledge intrinsically has to do with the process of sense making and – as the American Pragmatists rightly stressed – improves our capacity to act. 2 The term KnowledgeScapes takes up Anglo-American debates on new social and cultural ‘scape’-forms, discussed in cultural geography, cultural anthropology and cultural economy. The term scapes comes from the concept of ‘landscapes’. In a figurative fashion it has been expanded into realms such as ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes, ideoscapes (cf. Appadurai 1991). We re-borrow it from here with our term KnowledgeScapes in order to demarcate new socio-spatial constellations in the knowledge realm, in which informal milieu-like and formal-strategic networking processes are coupled. 3 For more information on the research concept of KnowledgeScapes see Matthiesen (2005, 2007b, 2008, 2009c); extended information on knowledge forms can be found in Matthiesen (2005, 2007c and 2009c); knowledge domains and knowledge bundles are discussed in Matthiesen (2008 and 2009c).
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6 Theories of discourse and narrative What do they mean for governance and policy? Rob Atkinson, Gerd Held and Stephen Jeffares
6.1 Introduction In this chapter we follow a path taken by a number of contemporary analysts who have sought to understand the world around them through the use of discourse and narrative analysis. Our concern is to use these forms of analysis to cast light upon particular aspects of the world – in our case the understanding of governance, knowledge, policy and policy-making, which also relates to a growing interest in the impact of ideas on policy and politics (see Brooks and Gagnon 1994; Campbell 2002; Finlayson 2004). Such an approach has gained increasing legitimacy over the last decade or so and produced a body of work that challenges more long-standing approaches, particularly to policy analysis but also to understanding how societies are governed (see Fox and Miller 1995; Hajer and Wagenaar 2003). Governance systems as learning processes, the understanding of institutional change and knowledge generation and understanding the interaction between these elements are central to the Governance for Sustainability (GFORS) project. Drawing on the conceptual framework elaborated in Chapter 3 for understanding the interrelationship between formations of knowledge (KnowledgeScapes) and governance arrangements it is possible to identify the key units of analysis – rule systems and actor constellations (constituting ‘governance arrangements’), and discursive practices and knowledge arrangements (constituting KnowledgeScapes). KnowledgeScapes represent those places and arrangements in which forms of knowledge are bundled together vis-à-vis specific issues/problems (see Chapter 3 for more detail). Our research has assigned ‘discourse analysis’ a significant role in understanding these phenomena both theoretically and empirically. In order to identify, understand and evaluate the case of local governance for sustainability the theoretical framework argues for the need to deploy methods to understand the governance arrangements in practice, decision-making process(es), bargaining, power relations, inclusion and exclusion from these processes, ‘knowledge in practice’ and the resulting policy. The framework highlights the role of validity claiming found in (linguistic) discursive forms. Examples of how and where these might be articulated include speeches, articles and policy documents, or they
116 Rob Atkinson, Gerhard Held and Stephen Jeffares may be found in debates or meetings or within keywords/slogans and metaphors. The theoretical framework argues that the two streams of investigation (i.e. governance arrangements and KnowledgeScapes) require different, albeit complimentary, kinds of methods. It is our contention that the methods for identifying and understanding them may be derived through developing an understanding of institutional ‘Hardware’ and ‘Software’ (Dryzek 1996). The ‘Hardware’ being the mechanisms and structures that surround the policy issue and the ‘Software’ constituted through the informal practices that are often identified (or constructed) by the analyst using a combination of interviews and observation. For us KnowledgeScapes and governance arrangements are in part the creations of discourse, therefore the action arena and action situations are also in part the products of discourse in the sense that they are in part constituted by and operate within and through discourses and discursive practices. Discourse analysis can help reveal ‘the how’ of these processes and practices. Moreover, discourse will play a crucial role in how different forms of knowledge are assessed/evaluated, the legitimacy accorded to them and their use in the policy process. Discourse(s) will thus be a constitutive element in knowledge cultures, knowledge milieus and knowledge networks, contributing to the shaping and articulation of KnowledgeScapes and their embodiment in particular organizational/institutional forms. On an everyday level knowledge conflicts will be articulated through discourses (and narratives) and thus affect what knowledge forms are included and excluded. Discourse analysis can thus help throw light upon the utilization of different knowledge forms, their articulation in terms of the ‘knowledge flower’ (see Chapter 5) and thus the possibilities for the development of reflective knowledge. The current chapter investigates the possibilities offered for understanding these issues through the use of discourse analysis, it should be noted that we have surveyed a range of potential discourse approaches that could be useful for the research. We first of all briefly discuss the changing ‘governance context’ that has created a climate that favours the use of discourse analysis before going on to discuss forms of discourse analysis and finally set out some of their implications relevant to our research.
6.2 Governance and the discursive turn In essence the argument is that a series of wider changes in the world have created what Hajer and Wagenaar (2003: 10) term ‘conditions of ‘radical uncertainty’’ in which ‘the polity has become discursive‘(Hajer 2003: 176). This has produced a situation in which it is widely argued that traditional hierarchical and rule-bound forms of decision-making (i.e. bureaucratic forms) are no longer sustainable and in contemporary democracies requires the involvement of a wider range of participants (or stakeholders), including those who are the object(s) of policy. The key driving force behind these changes is frequently assumed to lie in the impact of g lobalization on society and the associated move from government to governance. There is a widely held view that globalization, and the associated growth of liberal market based reforms, functions as one of the, if not the, key factors structuring
Theories of discourse and narrative 117 the contemporary world and somehow is driving the move from government to governance. For many nothing can be done about it, other than to accept it, and the only way to cope with it is through market dynamism and a process of constant adaptation to the dictates of the market. Globalization here takes on the status of an immutable ‘natural force’ beyond human control that has undermined the primacy of the nation state and rendered it of secondary importance. However, as Hirst and Thompson (1996: 171) point out this is a rather extreme and overstated view of globalization. They argue that this leads to a view that ‘states will come to function less as sovereign entities and more as the components of an international ‘polity’’ (ibid: 171). The implications of these developments for the world of politics, policy and decision-making are that national political systems have lost control over their ability to determine their own economic policy (and other policy areas) – a key element of sovereign politics. Furthermore, as Hirst and Thompson (1996: 184–5) argue: ‘Authority may now be plural . . . but to be effective it must be structured by an element of design into a relatively coherent architecture of institutions.’ Given these arguments we would agree with Bevir and Rhodes’ contention (2006: 59) that ‘we challenge the idea that inexorable, impersonal forces are driving a shift from government to contemporary governance’. Moreover, recent work by Jordan et al. (2005) suggests that the death of government has been greatly exaggerated and that ‘the neat theoretical distinction between governance and governance is, in reality, rather blurred’ (ibid.: 485). Indeed, they go as far as to argue that ‘governance may generate a need for new forms of government’ (ibid.: 2005: 493). What this brief discussion tells us in terms of policy is that there have been significant changes in the global policy environment, but that we should not over state their impact or the degree to which they circumscribe national policy systems. Thus with reference to how societies are governed it is premature to write the obituary of government. Moreover, we should acknowledge that how societies have been governed has always been more complex than the notion of a single legitimate centre of power and decision-making (i.e. the state) would imply (see Gaudin 1998). There have always been multiple centres of power in any society and the relations between these centres are complex and subject to negotiation and conflict. The move from government to governance may be a useful shorthand description, but it is too simple to capture the full complexity of the situation we face today.
6.3 What is discourse analysis? First, we need to recognize that what is included in the phrase ‘discourse analysis’ is by no means a unified body of work as those involved draw on a range of theories of political discourse. We need to bear in mind that any conception of discourse analysis as a methodological approach will always be rooted in a wider theory of discourse; i.e. an overarching framework drawing upon a particular paradigm (or problématique) and, often unstated, assumptions. Depending on the theory of discourse drawn upon, the approach utilized will draw upon particular units of analysis and techniques. As a result, it is possible to identify a number of analytical strategies grounded in several theories of discourse. At first glance
118 Rob Atkinson, Gerhard Held and Stephen Jeffares there are thousands of books and articles advocating the use of discourse analysis, however a vast majority are rooted in the linguistic/language oriented study of what Torfing (2005) describes as ‘first generation’ discourse analysis. This ‘first generation’ of discourse analysis focuses on the semantic aspects of text in terms of its socio-linguistics. There is, however, a ‘second generation’ of discourse analysis that, in part, is unified by a focus on power and it is this approach we consider to be the most relevant to GFORS. This approach seeks to move beyond a conception of discourse analysis that is limited to an understanding of spoken language – in the sense of how it is used and organized or the strategies of speakers. ‘Second generation’ discourse analysis is rooted in a comprehensive theory of discourse – or discourse theory. There are at least three streams of discourse theory that should not be confused. One, deriving from Habermas, is based on the analysis of language structures that mediate social practices. In simplistic terms this approach is based on Habermas’ normative project that argues power must be eliminated in order to realize an ideal of ‘communicative reason’. In contrast, discourse theory derived from the work of Foucault seeks to understand how institutions condition discursive rules of formation, truth, knowledge and power. From this position power and discourse cannot be separated as discourse is shaped by power and power shapes discourse. In a third stream of discourse theory, Laclau and Mouffe (1985) follow Foucault but problematize his notion of institutions that somehow sit outside of discourse, therefore all social practices, institutions, etc, are products of discourse. They argue that there is no distinction between the discursive and the non-discursive. In terms of power, all social relations are power relations. While having considerable sympathy with this last point we would suggest that there are clearly important ontological and epistemological differences here. To simplify matters somewhat the most obvious division is between those who adopt an approach which asserts that the world is a discursive construct (i.e. nothing exists outside of discourse) and those who maintain the importance of the non-discursive (material) realm (the Real) as the basis for the existence of discourse(s). The position adopted in this chapter is one which maintains the importance of the latter position whilst accepting the significance of discourse in terms of structuring our understanding of the Real, having material effects on the Real and of discursive practices becoming materialized and embedded/institutionalized, through discursive practices, in the Real and thereby changing that reality. To put matters somewhat simplistically – there is a dialectical relationship between the discursive and the non-discursive such that one cannot exist (or be thought) without the other. We would also suggest that it would be very easy to slip into a pessimistic and deterministic conception of ‘reality’ based upon discourse analysis, one that understands the products of discourse as an ‘iron cage’ in which individuals and institutions have no option other than to act in a particular way. However, power always engenders resistance and domination is only ever partial. Moreover, the programmes of government and their associated technologies are rarely realized as intended. The agents of liaison and localized hubs of power central to governing have their own agendas and interests that frequently lead policies and their associated instruments to unfold in ways
Theories of discourse and narrative 119 contrary to the intentions of central government. Policies collide with and contradict one another, quite frequently the ‘solutions’ entailed in one policy are the problems of another. Furthermore, the means to actualize policies (i.e. the activities required to put a particular policy diagnosis into practice) are rarely self-evident, new means are often required and these frequently run into problems when they interact with existing organizations and institutions. More generally, although political discourse constitutes its own objects, knowledge of those objects and ‘truth’, reality remains resolutely uprogrammable constantly eluding the grasp of discourse and frustrating its objectives. What is significant for our purposes in these more recent developments in discourse analysis, particularly in the work of Foucault, is the role which discourse plays in structuring debate(s). According to Hall (1997: 44) discourse, for Foucault means: [A] group of statements which provide a language for talking about – a way of representing the knowledge about – a particular topic at a particular historical moment . . . Discourse is about the production of knowledge through language. Nevertheless we need to be cautious over how we utilize use notions of language. As Fairclough (1992: ch. 3; 1995: ch. 3) has argued language operates as both a medium of ideological conflict and simultaneously the medium in which ideology is produced and transformed; within the domain of ideology words and power intersect, construct the social world and allocate meaning. Moreover, as Fairclough (1992 and 1995) argues, discourses are not free-floating; they are embedded in institutions and organizations and play an important role in structuring the relations of power within them (see also Clegg 1989). Discourses produce what Clegg (1989) terms rules of practice (or rules of the game) that are discursively constituted, embedded in organizational/institutional structures and reproduced, albeit in a contested and variable manner, over time. From this perspective discourse means much more than the language through which policies, associated texts and rhetoric’s are articulated. Discourse determines what can be legitimately included in and what is excluded from debates and (political and policy) practices. A discourse produces its own ‘regime of truth’ in which knowledge and power are inextricably bound together. As Flyvbjerg (1998: 226) has clearly shown in his study of planning in Aalborg: [N]ot only is knowledge power, but more important, power is knowledge. Power determines what counts as knowledge, what kind of interpretation attains authority as the dominant interpretation. Power procures the knowledge which supports its purposes, while it ignores or suppresses that knowledge which does not serve it. In what follows we outline strategies for discourses analysis that were of use for GFORS. However, the dividing lines between these approaches are not hard and
120 Rob Atkinson, Gerhard Held and Stephen Jeffares fast with policy discourse analysts often drawing on more than one strategy. We should also point out that we give greater space to some than others reflecting our own (implicit) views on the relative usefulness of each approach to GFORS.
6.4 Semantic policy analysis Howarth (2005: 341) describes the central aim of textual analysis in his form of discourse theory as ‘locating and analysing the mechanisms by which meaning is produced, fixed, contested and subverted within particular texts’. In terms of the GFORS project this suggests a textual analysis of meaning(s) within policy documents, drawing on how meanings articulate demands/arguments/concepts/actors as equivalent or different. From this ‘policy interpretivist’ position Yanow (1995, 1996 and 1999) suggests a form of category analysis. For Yanow categories entail and reflect a set of ideas about the subject in question. The role of the policy analyst is therefore to reveal these often implicit ideas embedded in governance practices and policies through a ‘close reading of the categories’. In terms of GFORS this would entail a focus on the practices and categories embedded within governance forms and KnowledgeScapes around sustainability policy. Yanow (1999: 48–57) describes the process of policy category analysis as the following: 1 What are the categories being used in the policy issue? 2 What do elements have in common that makes them belong together in a single category? Does categorical logic depend on one or more markings? 3 What, if any, elements do not fit, or does one (or more) appear to fit more than one category? Why (what are their characteristics, and how do these compare with the characteristics of the fitting elements)? 4 Do the elements as they are used in policy practices signal different meanings of category labels than what the category labels themselves appear to mean? 5 Is there a point of view from which those things implicitly asserted as belonging together are or could be seen as divergent? Currently there is no shortage of handbooks and textbooks on this form of discourse analysis, (for example step by step descriptions of socio-linguistic discourses analysis and a checklist for interpretation strategies, e.g. Schriffrin et al. 2003), however they often remain devoid of (or silent upon) theories of political discourse central to the study of public policy and governance. Moreover, Torfing (2005) argues that using discourse analysis only as a semantic assessment exploring the meanings of words is of limited value, particularly as much discourse analysis often does not involve a comprehensive theory of power or change necessary for the analysis of political governance structures and policy. Policy analysts also draw on policy discourse frameworks such as the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), popularized by Norman Fairclough (1992, 1995; Fairclough et al. 2006). With comprehensive textbooks now available (Wodak and Meyer 2001; Titscher et al. 2000), and many recent examples of CDA application to cases of public policy; this approach has obvious relevance for GFORS
Theories of discourse and narrative 121 (for example environmental resolution in Smith 2006; health policy in Rayner et al. 2006; citizenship In Fairclough et al. 2006, for a recent critique see Collins and Jones 2006). Analysts using a CDA framework extend their conception of discourse beyond utterances and texts to social practices; inspired by Foucault, this approach sees subjects and objects as the result of discursive practices. Fairclough (1992 and 1995) defines practices as discursive because they contain a semiotic element. Although the theoretical categories and units of analysis differ from other policy discourse theories, the empirical methods are mostly similar. CDA research draws our attention to interpreting the meaning of speech, writing, images and gestures.
6.5 Pragmatic policy analysis This approach draws our attention not only to the meaning of the text or analysis of statements but the significance of the act of enunciation or articulation of discourse. Perhaps the best example of this approach is to be found in the work of Fischer and Forester and those associated with them (see Forester and Fischer 1993), who draw upon the work of Habermas, and what has been described as the ‘argumentative turn’ in postpositivist public policy analysis. Elaborating upon elements of this approach for use in policy analysis Hajer (2003) has articulated an approach to policy analysis rooted in a move from a classical-modernist society to a network society. This entails a much wider analysis of changes in the nature of politics and policy (indeed of the contemporary world). For instance, Hajer (2003:176) has argued that: the constitutional rules of the well-established classical-modernist polities do not tell us about the new rules of the game. In our world the polity has become discursive: it cannot be captured in the comfortable terms of generally accepted rules, but is created through deliberation. The polity, long considered stable in policy analysis, thus becomes a topic for empirical analysis again. As politics is conducted in an institutional void, both policy and polity are dependent on the outcome of discursive interactions. Within this wider conception of society Hajer (2005) has highlighted the importance of the ‘dramaturgy of discourse’. For example a public meeting has a performative element to it, in the setting, the staging, the scripting (and the counterscript). Thus certain actors are likely to possess superior credentials and knowledge/power (or symbolic capital in Bourdieu’s 1991, terms) which will give them a greater likelihood of being able, via performative utterances1 to name things/processes and thereby define the terms on which others participate. In terms of GFORS, this approach provides a basis for analysing meetings, public announcements or press conferences.
122 Rob Atkinson, Gerhard Held and Stephen Jeffares
6.6 Narrative analysis2 Jameson (1989) conceptualizes narrative as a key epistemological category through which we gain knowledge of the world, he argues much of what we learn comes in the form of stories. Narratives are thus a way of presenting and re-presenting the world, or particular aspects of it, in a textual form that interpret that world in a particular way. For Jameson individual narratives do not exist in isolation but reflect (and simultaneously conceal) a deeper more pervasive narrative linked to particular social (class or group) interests (i.e. to ideologies, see also van Dijk 1995). Narratives, therefore, are never ‘innocent’ nor are their underlying ‘master codes’ immediately accessible. Thus the issue of interpretation is crucial to narrative analysis and it is essential to: foreground the interpretative categories or codes through which we read and receive the text in question . . . Interpretation is here construed as an essentially allegorical act, which consists in rewriting a given text in terms of a particular interpretive master code. (Jameson 1989: 9–10; see also Dowling 1984, esp. ch. 5) This means we must attempt to identity different layers of meaning within a narrative and the ideology (or master code) that underlies it. Narratives attempt to project a particular version of reality, seeking to organize it in a certain manner whilst simultaneously attempting to mask or deny contradictions within that reality and limit our perception of such contradictions – a form of closure or what is termed a strategy of containment. In this sense what is absent from a narrative may be as important as what is present3 (see Gervais et al. 1999). In terms of narrative analysis policy stories are used to make sense of organizational life and the communities those stories create. Narrative analysts ask why the story was told that way and what the storyteller means. For Feldman et al. (2004), the two important anchors for analysis are opposites and enthymemes: •
Opposites – understanding what the storyteller sees as right by noting what they see as wrong, thus ‘when a storyteller describes a situation, one way to uncover meaning is by looking closely at what he or she is implying is its opposite’ (Feldman et al. 2004: 151). Enthymeme – incomplete or careless logical inference – they miss out on the one hand the taken for granted aspects of the story and secondly the controversial, avoiding disagreement.
It is not about whether the story is right or wrong or factually true, but about the understandings the author is expressing in the act of telling the story. The Feldman approach is a form of a transcript analysis – they code transcripts based on stories – so these can be anything from a few sentences to two pages. Stories differ from a mere list of things that constitute a description, in that they contain a form of plot. Three stages of policy story analysis may be identified:
Theories of discourse and narrative 123 1 Identify the story line, the point they are trying to make. Often revealed in a single sentence summary of the whole story. This is the central argument rather than sub-plots. 2 Identify the oppositions embedded in the story. This involves analysing what the key element of the story is not. They found that around 78% of their stories had clear oppositions either implicit or explicit in the story. 3 A logical analysis by reproducing the story in the form of ‘syllogisms – (or) the individual “logical arguments that help the storyteller express the ideas of the story” – considering that some of these syllogisms will be implicitly expressed as enthymemes (the taken for granted and the controversial arguments excluded to enhance the power of the story). Bringing this back to theories of policy discourse the work of Hajer (1993) is useful. For instance Hajer argues: ‘Whether or not a situation is perceived as a political problem depends on the narrative in which it is discussed.’ (ibid.: p44), highlighting that the particular aspects of reality which come to be defined as a ‘problem’ are rarely self-evidently problems as such. For something to be defined as a ‘problem’ it must first of all be constructed and articulated as an object amenable to diagnosis and treatment in and through a particular narrative that has the stamp of ‘authority’, i.e. will be recognized by appropriate actors as an authoritative and legitimate intervention. As Stone (1989: 282) has argued: Problem definition is a process of image making, where the images have to do fundamentally with attributing cause, blame, and responsibility. Conditions, difficulties, or issues thus do not have inherent properties that make them more or less likely to be seen as problems or to be expanded. Rather, political actors deliberately portray them in ways calculated to gain support for their side . . . They compose stories that describe harms and difficulties, attribute them to actions of other individuals or organizations, and thereby claim the right to invoke government power to stop the harm. (emphasis in original). However, to define something as a problem and position it in relation to the prevailing temporary policy settlement requires the existence of what Hajer (1993) terms a discourse coalition. Such coalitions are made up of ‘a group of actors [including organizations] who share a social construct’ (Hajer 1993: p45) about the world, or some part of it, and how it functions. Moreover, they will tell similar stories that seek to account for why things ‘are as they are’ and what needs to be done to ‘treat’ them. Such coalitions tend to have an institutional/organizational base, be linked into a policy community and operate within a particular structure of power that frames the way in which a problem is constructed and guarantees that the coalition will be listened to. Coalitions will usually draw upon pre-existing notions of action that have attained a certain degree of ‘symbolic capital’ (Bourdieu 1991), i.e. they will draw upon the way(s) in which similar problems have been addressed in the recent past or are currently being dealt with (what Clegg 1989, terms a ‘mode of
124 Rob Atkinson, Gerhard Held and Stephen Jeffares rationality’) and which are congruent with prevailing discourses associated with a governing party. During this process there will be a greater, or lesser, degree of ‘competition’ between discourse coalitions to define a problem, the outcome of which is not predetermined. In part the outcome will be determined by the ability of discourse coalitions to frame their arguments in a manner that is congruent with (i.e. speaks to) the dominant governmental and/or departmental discourse. The ability of discourse coalitions to position themselves within a constellation of competing forces will play an important role in determining their influence over the process and its outcomes. Discourse coalitions competing for influence must make calculations about how ‘realistic’ their aims are (what they think they can achieve) and adopt particular strategies and tactics (how to do it). In this competitive process coalitions must also make calculations and choices about the language and narratives they use to represent their proposals, and indeed may feel ‘forced’ to adopt a language and narrative that may in part be dissonant with their own values; if they failed to do this they would run the risk of being seen as irrelevant and thus ignored. During this interactive process a ‘problem’ is constructed and defined in a particular way that is congruent with the dominant discourse, a narrative is constructed about its genesis that entails a ‘solution’ that compliments the existing temporary policy settlement. Within the narrational genesis of a particular problem an ‘immanent solution’ is present that complements the story of how the problem was created and contains answers to questions such as ‘Who is responsible? What can be done? What should be done?’ (Hajer 1993: 45). Furthermore, such narratives seek to portray themselves as ‘simply describing facts.’ (Stone 1989: 282). Particular narratives attempt to (re)present ‘problems’ as if their origins lay in uncontentious ‘natural forces’ that must be unambiguously recognized and ‘treated’ in the manner specified by the narrative. By presenting a ‘problem’ in this manner a discourse coalition seeks to structure and limit debate, to prevent a ‘problem’ from being thought about in ways that question the narrative advocated by a particular discourse coalition. This is part of an attempt by discourse coalitions to attain a position of power and influence with regard to a particular policy field. Such coalitions therefore should not be assumed to be primarily ‘altruistic formations’, although this often plays a role in their constitution and operation, but should also be viewed as actors that develop and deploy strategies and make calculations about how to achieve strategic goals that are not simply reducible to the pursuit of some notion of the common good. Clearly we have considerable sympathy with this approach, but one needs to exercise a degree of caution over how narratives/stories are used, particularly when it comes to utilizing the stories told by individuals. Such an approach is useful in understanding how individuals locate themselves in the policy process, nevertheless there is a danger that we ignore how such individual narratives are related to wider social and power structures in society. Nor, as Tilly (2002 esp. chs.3) argues, do such accounts, or standard stories as he terms them, provide adequate causal explanations of social processes (such as the policy process). While personal
Theories of discourse and narrative 125 narrative-stories are central to the ways in which individuals make sense of their lives, the very fact that ‘standard stories’ are personalized accounts limits their explanatory value with regard to social process that involve multiple actors (including organizations). Such stories should thus be treated sceptically and recognized as ‘after the fact’ constructions designed to explain events from the point of view of particular individuals. Thus we need to look at how stories are produced and why particular storied explanations of events become widely shared and accepted, i.e. achieve some form of predominance and become widely accepted accounts and in some instances even take on the status of ‘myths’. Tilly’s argument is that for analytical purposes we need to transcend such personalized narrative-stories and construct what he terms ‘superior stories’. Thus: Construction of superior stories rests on some ability to contextualize them, contextualization requires some awareness of processes that generate stories, and the analysis of generation requires partial knowledge of the nonstory processes at work in social life. (Ibid.: 41) This implies a need to relate such stories to the wider social structures and causal processes that structure events, but which are not immediately apparent to most storytellers.
6.7 Policy analysis and rhetoric The focus in rhetorical analysis is on understanding the construction and subversion of meaning through the identification and articulation of rhetoric. Howarth (2005) cites the work of Skinner, who highlights the role of rhetorical redescription, as a constant endeavour to reframe issues. This begins with avoidance of making statements in our writing such as ‘rhetoric and reality’, which assumes an objective reality and downgrades rhetoric as the product of manipulating spin-doctors. However, to make this assumption would be a mistake. Rather we should see rhetoric as being couched in the everyday language of policy actors as they seek to make sense of their context and to define a situation – in a sense they are the ‘figures of speech’ that we, largely unconsciously, use to structure and make sense of the everyday world. Often this takes place through the articulation of metaphor. For Yanow (1999) metaphors transfer meaning from a well-known entity to a lesserknown entity; this is about transferring that understanding to something unknown. In the case of those involved in the policy process this use of metaphor may be more or less conscious, or it may simply reflect the usage of a term that has achieved a certain taken-for-granted status in policy discourse. Nelson (1998: xiv) argues that the analysis of rhetoric ‘may be a concern with what is communicated, how, by, and for whom; to what effect; under what circumstances; and with what alternatives.’ The importance of metaphor is about understanding the role it plays in the creation, and perceptions(s), of reality; in the case of GFORS this may refer to the transfer of particular forms of knowledge between governance entities. These
126 Rob Atkinson, Gerhard Held and Stephen Jeffares metaphors are not wholly descriptive, but carry diagnoses and prescriptions – examples of this are ‘broken homes’ or ‘welfare dependency’. The role of policy makers is to treat the offending construction and return the ‘malfunctioning elements’ to a state of normality. The task is to identify metaphors and then begin to derive the meaning based on the context within which the metaphor was uttered. The identification process may be made easier with computer software, such as NVIVO, where the ‘corpus’ of texts can be stored and categories such as metaphors coded for later consideration. In the process of understanding the meanings of the metaphor Yanow (1999) suggests analysts identify a contrasting case in relation to the metaphor – so in contrast to her supermarket metaphor – open air markets and corner shops. In playing out the metaphoric analysis, the analyst will discover how much of the policy issue it explains and whether metaphoric entailments are recapitulated in other arenas of policy or agency acts. The wider the ‘echoes or ripples’ of metaphoric meaning, the more robust the analysis and the more likely that it will help articulate the architecture of the policy argument. (Yanow 1999: 48)
6.8 Conclusion In this chapter we have sought to identify the forms of discourse analysis that have contributed to the development of the GFORS approach to understanding the relationship(s) governance, knowledge and policy. Rather than opting for a single version of discourse analysis4 we have sought to build upon what we viewed as the most relevant and useful developments for GFORS in discourse and narrative analysis and draw out their potential contribution for us. What should be clear is that policy is the product of a complex process, it is in part a ‘chance outcome’ of the interaction of knowledge formations and governance arrangements that are composed by ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ hands (Foucault, 2002). In this sense it may be described as a construct.5 Moreover, policy is not free floating, indeed what is defined as policy is the product of a process in which discourse, narrative, power and knowledge are key factors in that constitutive process, this sets limits on what can be authoritatively said and heard and indeed upon what is ‘thinkable’. Thus the policy process does not exist in a vacuum or start from a blank sheet of paper, it is a structured process in which prevailing ideologies set the overall framework within which different discourses and narratives are articulated by actors who are embedded in organizations/institutions seeking to advance particular definitions of and solutions to problems that are congruent with and further their interests.6 The particular outcomes of this process of contestation are not predetermined (although we should note that nor are they ‘open to all’ but structured by existing institutional/organizational structures and social relations) and much depends upon the calculations made by those involved and the strategies and tactics they deploy to achieve their ends. By drawing on discourse and narrative analysis we have argued that it is possible to begin to fill in some of the gaps left by traditional
Theories of discourse and narrative 127 forms of policy analysis and provide a more systematic and in-depth understanding of the policy process. With regard to governance arrangements the implications are that we need to look at these critically and not take them at face value, they embody particular discourses about ‘what the world is like’, how it functions and what can be done vis-à-vis that world. We have suggested that the limits to action in terms of governing are, at least in part, set by discourse and in particular what may be termed hegemonic discourses. Similarly with regard to KnowledgeScapes they are in part constituted through discourse. The relationships, and interactions, between governance arrangements, KnowledgeScapes and policy are structured by the ‘Hardware’ and ‘Software’ of these elements. While, for analytical purposes, the ‘Hardware’ and ‘Software’ may be identified separately in practice they are indistinguishable and mutually condition one another, in a sense each provides the conditions necessary for the existence of the other and discourse analysis offers us a way of understanding how these structures and interactions develop, interact and ‘produce’ policy.
Notes 1������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ For Bourdieu a performative utterance (i.e. the authority to speak and name) ‘is inseparable from the existence of an institution which defines the conditions (such as the place, the time, the agent) that must be fulfilled in order for that utterance to be effective . . . the efficacy of the performative utterance presupposes a set of social relations, an institution, by virtue of which a particular individual, who is authorized to speak and recognized as such by others, is able to speak in a way that others will regard as acceptable in the circumstances.’ (Thompson 1991: 8–9, emphasis in original). 2 While we offer an approach to and definition of narrative that is linked to particular concepts of analysis it should be pointed out that the notion of narrative can be utilised with other concepts of analysis. For instance, Bates et al. (1998) develop a form of narrative that combines it with rational-choice and game theory. They argue: We call our approach analytic narrative because it combines analytic tools that are commonly employed in economics and political science with the narrative form, which is more commonly employed in history. Our approach is narrative; it pays close attention to stories, accounts, and context. It is analytic in that it extracts explicit and formal lines of reasoning, which facilitates both exposition and explanation. (Bates et al. 1998: 10) 3 The issue of absences, or silences, in a discourse is relevant to the construction of ‘policy discourses’ in a wide sense. It is only by recognising what has been excluded, as well as what as been included, that we can begin to understand the operation of power relations and the structuring of policy debates. Such an approach is similar to that advocated by Bachrach and Baratz (1962 and 1963). Their work pointed to the way(s) in which decision-making could be confined to ‘safe issues’, they argued that individuals or groups may exercise power by ‘creating or reinforcing social and political values and institutional practices that limit the scope of the political process to public consideration of only those issues which are comparatively innocuous’ (Bachrach and Baratz 1962: 948) to them. This can occur “by influencing community values and political procedures and rituals’ (ibid.: 949) to such an extent that opposing groups never even consider raising certain questions. Issues are thus excluded from the policy agenda by a process termed the ‘mobilization of bias’. This occurs through a process of nondecision-making
128 Rob Atkinson, Gerhard Held and Stephen Jeffares whereby certain issues are organised out of politics. Their analysis implied that such processes are at work in all institutions/organisations and that any analysis of policy needs to take this into account. The problem they faced was how to study and analyse these processes, the central tenets of US political science at the time demanded that these processes be observable; ultimately Bachrach and Baratz (1970) were unwilling to break with positivism and behaviourism (see Lukes 1974; Clegg 1989: chs. 3 and 4) and thus the radical edge of their work was lost. 4��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� For instance the authors of this chapter do not share a common view on the ‘best’ version of discourse analysis. 5 However, we should bear in mind that over thirty years ago Heclo (1972) pointed out that most writers on the subject agreed the term policy referred to ‘a purposiveness of some kind’ (ibid.: 84) and that ‘at its core, policy is a course of action intended to accomplish some end’ (ibid.: 84). But, importantly, Heclo also argued that ‘a policy like a decision, can consist of what is not being done’ (ibid.: 85). These quotes convey the indeterminacy that surrounded, and still surrounds, this general question, Heclo summed up the position succinctly when he argued that: policy does not seem to be a self-defining phenomenon; it is an analytic category, the contents of which are identified by the analyst rather than the policy maker or pieces of legislation. There is no unambiguous datum constituting policy and waiting to be discovered in the world. A policy may usefully be considered as a course of action or inaction rather than specific decisions or actions, and such a course has to be perceived and identified by the analyst in question. (ibid.: 85) 6 In this sense the policy process may be described, following Lindblom (1959 and 1979) as incremental. One of the problems with Lindblom’s notion of incrementalism was that whilst it may provide a generally accurate description of the way in which the policy process frequently develops, and despite attempts to use notions such as ‘partisan mutual adjustment’ to explain incrementalism’s predominance, the approach remained analytically weak. In his later work (e.g. Lindblom 1979, 1982) there were attempts to address the inherent ‘conservatism’ of incrementalism as outlined in his earlier work and to recognise, and understand, that ‘radical’ change was possible. However, this was attempted without departing significantly from incrementalism and the underlying positivism of his original approach
References Bachrach, P. and Baratz, M. S. (1962) ‘Two Faces of Power’, American Political Science Review, 56: 947–52. —— (1963) ‘Decisions and Nondecisions: A Analytical Framework’, American Political Science Review, 57: 632–42. —— (1970) Power and Poverty. Theory and Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bates, R., Greif, A,. Levi, M., Rosenthal, J-L., and Weingast, B. (1998) Analytic Narratives. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Bevir, M. and Rhodes, R. A. W. (2006) ‘The Life, Death and Resurrection of British Governance’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 65(2): 59–69. Bourdieu, P. (1991) Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity. Brooks, S. and Gagnon, A. -G. (eds) (1994) The Political Influence of Ideas. Policy Communities and the Social Sciences, Praeger: London.
Theories of discourse and narrative 129 Campbell, J. L. (2002) ‘Ideas, Politics and Public Policy’, in Annual Review of Sociology, 28: 21–38. Clegg, S. R. (1989) Frameworks of Power, Sage: London. Collins, C. and Jones, P. (2006) ‘Analysis of Discourse as a form of History Writing: A Critique of Critical Discourse Analysis and an Illustration of a Cultural-Historical Alternative’, Atlantic Journal of Communication, 14(1–2): 51–69. Dowling, D. (1984) Jameson, Althusser, Marx. An Introduction to the Political Unconscious, London: Methuen. Dryzek, J. (1996) ‘The Informal Logic of Institutional Design’, in Goodin, R. E. (ed) The Theory of Institutional Design. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fairclough, N. (1992) Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity. —— (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Longman. Fairclough, Norman. Pardoe, S. and Szerszynski, B. (2006) ‘Critical Discourse Analysis and Citizenship’, in Discourse: Approaches to Politics Society and Culture, 19: 98–123. Feldman, Martha S. Skoldberg, K. Brown, R. and Horner, D. (2004) ‘Making Sense of Stories: A Rhetorical Approach to Narrative Analysis’, in Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 14 (2): 147–70. Finlayson, A. (2004) ‘Political science, political ideas and rhetoric’, Economy and Society, 33 (4): 528–49. Flyvbjerg, B. (1998) Rationality and Power. Democracy in Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Forester, J. and Fischer, F. (eds) (1993) The Argumentative Turn in Policy and Planning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Foucault, M, (2002) The Order of Things. An archaeology of the human science, Routledge: New York. Fox, C.J. and Miller H.T. (1995) Postmodern Public Administration: Toward discourse, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA. Gaudin, J-P. (1998) ‘Modern governance, yesterday and today: some clarifications to be gained from French government policies’, in International Social Sciences Journal, No.155: 47–56. Gervais, M-C., Morant, N. and Penn, G. (1999) ‘Making Sense of “Absence”: Towards a Typology of Absence in Social Representations Theory and Research’, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 29(4): 419–44. Hajer, M. (1993) ‘Discourse Coalitions and the Institutionalisation of Practice, The Case of Acid Rain in Britain’, in Forester, J. and Fischer, F. (eds) The Argumentative Turn in Policy and Planning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. —— (2003) ‘Policy without polity? Policy analysis and the institutional void’, Policy Sciences, 36: 175–95. —— (2005) ‘Setting the Stage: A Dramaturgy of Policy Deliberation’, in Administration and Society, 36 (6): 624–47. Hajer, M. and Wagenaar, H (eds) (2003) Deliberative Policy Analysis. Understanding Governance in the Network Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hall, S. (1997) ‘The Work of Representation’, in Hall, S. (ed) Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage. Heclo, H. (1972) ‘Review Article: Policy Analysis’, British Journal of Political Science, 2: 83–108. Hirst, P. and Thompson, G. (1996) Globalization in Question. Cambridge: Polity. Howarth, D. (2005) ‘Applying Discourse Theory’, in Howarth, D. and Torfing, J. (eds) Discourse Theory in European Politics, Identity, Policy and Governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
130 Rob Atkinson, Gerhard Held and Stephen Jeffares Howarth, D. and Torfing, J. (eds) (2005) Discourse Theory in European Politics, Identity, Policy and Governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Jameson, F. (1989) The Political Unconscious. Narrative as a socially symbolic act. London: Routledge. Jordan, J., Rudiger K., and Zito, A. (2005) ‘The Rise of “New” Policy Instruments in Comparative Perspective: Has Governance Eclipsed Government?’, Political Studies, 53: 477–96. Laclau, E, and Mouffe, C. (1985) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, Verso: London. Lindblom, C.E. (1959) ‘The Science of “Muddling Through” “, Public Administration Review, 19: 79–88. —— (1979) ‘Still Muddling, Not Yet Through’, Public Administration Review, 39: 517–26. —— (1982) ‘The Market as a Prison’, Journal of Politics, 44: 324–36. Lukes, S. (1974) Power. A Radical View, Macmillan: London. Nelson, S. (1998) Introduction, in Tropes of Politics. Science, Theory, Rhetoric, Action (pp xi–xviii). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Rayner, M. Scarborough, P and Allender, S. (2006) ‘Values Underlying the national Service Framework for Coronary heard disease in England: a discourse analysis’, Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 11 (2): 67–73. Smith, P. M. (2006) ‘The Application of Critical Discourse Analysis in Environmental Dispute Resolution’, Ethics Place and Environment, 9 (1): 79–100. Stone, D. (1989) ‘Causal Stories and the Formation of Policy Agendas’, Political Science Quarterly, 104(2): 281–300. Thompson, J. B. (1991) Editor’s Introduction to Bourdieu (1991) Tilly, C. (2002) Stories, Identities, and Political Change, Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham. Titscher, Stefan. Meyer, Michael. Wodak, Ruth. and Vetter, Eva. (2000) Methods of Text and Discourse Analysis. London: Sage. Torfing, J. (2005) ‘Discourse Theory: Achievements, Arguments, and Challenges’, in Howarth, D. and Torfing, J. (eds) Discourse Theory in European Politics, Identity, Policy and Governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Van Dijk, T. A. (1995) ‘Discourse semantics and ideology’, Discourse and Society, 6(2): 243–89. Wodak, R. (2006) ‘Dilemmas in Discourse Analysis’, in Language and Society, 35 (4): 595–612. Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (eds) (2001) Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage.Wood, L. A. (2000) Doing Discourse Analysis: Methods for Studying Action in Talk and Text. London: Sage. Yanow, D. (1995) ‘Built Space as Story: The Policy Stories that Buildings Tell’, Policy Studies Journal, 23(3): 407–22. —— (1996) How does a Policy Mean? Interpreting Policy and Organisational Actions. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. —— (1999) Conducting Interpretative Policy Analysis. London: Sage.
7 Strategic environmental assessment, strategic spatial planning and the politics of local knowledge Alessandro Balducci, Claudio Calvaresi and Karsten Zimmermann
7.1 Introduction We might consider Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as a method addressed to evaluate if plans, programmes and policies incorporate criteria of sustainability and to ensure that they will consider them. But if we look at the development of the European debate concerning SEA, we discover that it is mainly concentrated on procedural aspects. The dominant question is how to integrate SEA smoothly into existing laws and formal planning procedures, while the underlying causal assumptions and challenges of strategic assessment remain undiscussed (Cashmore et al. 2007a). Looking at SEA initiatives in Europe, crucial questions emerging from our conceptual framework (see Chapters 1 and 3) – such as the implications in terms of the transformation of specific governance arrangements, the use and production of different types of knowledge (e.g. everyday, local and expert knowledge), to what extent the action arenas where SEA procedures take place are able to induce mutual learning and production of reflective knowledge – we do not find satisfactory answers in the existing literature. The case studies developed in the GFORS project reveal that SEA is a procedure with many weaknesses and performance gaps, and that it is generally limited in its capacity to generate a rich and complex composition of heterogeneous knowledge forms that form the basis for sustainable policies (Calvaresi and Coenen 2010).1 Although participation by the affected stakeholders is obligatory, the highly formalized character of SEA procedures provokes attitudes that are primarily oriented towards compliance with formal rules and much less capable of fostering interaction among actors and mobilizing them in a generative process of strategic thinking about sustainable development. Given this we propose to think differently about SEA, taking it seriously as a framework for better decision-making, rather than as a formal administrative procedure (Partidario 2000). From this perspective, we argue that SEA can learn from the evolution of the European debate on strategic spatial planning (Healey 2007; Albrechts et al. 2003; Salet and Faludi 2000; Wiechmann 2008). The notion of strategic planning has experienced a significant change over its history, from a hierarchical and rational-comprehensive model of structure planning
132 Alessandro Balducci, Claudio Calvaresi and Karsten Zimmermann to a performance model of corporate planning, to a recent redefinition as a particular dimension of spatial planning practices that directs attention to the involvement of actors, to governance innovations and to the mobilization of different types of knowledge. The definitive transformation of this ambiguous, but at the same time powerful notion, is in the wider concept of strategy making, where the emphasis is on strategic thinking, on the process of strategy production and implementation, rather than on the production of formalized documents (defined strategic spatial plans). Strategic planning represents the result of a theoretical elaboration that has paid attention to the argumentative and communicative turn of planning practices (Healey et al. 1997), in which the exchange of different types of knowledge is crucial. In order to develop our ideas about SEA and strategic spatial planning we briefly summarize the development of SEA in the second section of this chapter and introduce the basic rationale of SEA, the potentials for learning and production of socially robust knowledge but also the weaknesses inherent in SEA. It is argued that SEA needs methods and approaches which are different from its generic predecessor Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) because at the strategic level of plan evaluation complexity is increasing and causal assumptions are vague and contingent (Partidario 2000). Therefore an appropriate form of knowledge production is needed which can cope with this problem on the one hand and complies with the formal requirements of environmental assessment procedures on the other. Section 3 discusses the changes that the notion of strategic planning has undergone over the last twenty years, presents contributions provided by different scholars, and introduces the idea of strategic spatial planning, that gives the term strategic planning a new meaning and content. In section 4 we outline some ideas on how the key elements emerging from the debate on strategic spatial planning and strategy making processes could be incorporated in SEA practices. This is done with the intention of improving the capacity of SEA to promote sustainability via a redefinition of governance modes and knowledge-in-use. The transferability of ideas, principles or mechanisms from strategic spatial planning to SEA is of course debatable. SEA is a re-active assessment tool while strategic spatial planning is an active and content-open planning device. Indeed, we do not wish to turn the purpose of SEA upside down, blur the initial purpose or overstrain the current work of SEA practitioners. Our intention is rather modest. We are convinced that some lessons from strategic spatial planning can be used to advance the theoretical and conceptual debate on SEA.
7.2 From Environmental Impact Assessment to Strategic Environmental Assessment Although this chapter primarily refers to the European Directive on SEA we cannot ignore the fact that the wider debate on how to perform SEA reaches far beyond the directive and includes non-European experience (Partidario 2000; Richardson 2005; Wallington et al. 2007). SEA can be seen as a general approach to environmental assessment including procedures like regional environmental assessment or regional sustainability appraisal (in the UK). At least in an international comparative
Strategic environmental assessment 133 perspective we cannot find a common position on what SEA should accomplish. As shown by the following quotation we find the practice and theory of environmental assessment highly diverse: Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) – is it a method, a formal administrative procedure, a series of clearly defined tasks in a streamlined process, or could it be seen as a framework for better decision-making, with core elements strategically placed in the policy, planning and programmatic decision-making process to ensure that the principles of sustainability and impact assessment are fully integrated in decision making? (Partidario 2000: 647–8) Because the European directive provides significant leeway member states follow different trajectories and experiment with different approaches to SEA. We therefore suggest following the dictum: one concept – multiple forms (Partidario 2000: 661). The concept and rationale of SEA cannot be gauged without reflecting the presence of path dependency in the development of SEA (Wallington et al. 2007). The origins of SEA are to be found in the older debate on EIA which provides insights into the content, development and purpose of SEA. 7.2.1 A short history of the development of SEA or: the why of SEA The success of environmental assessment started, at least from a juridical point of view, in 1969 with the US National Environmental Policy Act that introduced EIA for certain projects on the federal level. Since then many countries and international organizations (e.g. the World Bank) followed suit introducing the obligation of EIA on the project level. European Community law made EIA obligatory in 1985 and member states had to implement the corresponding directive before 1988. The debate on the extension of EIA towards the strategic level of plans and programmes started in the 1990s with the first proposal for a directive being discussed in 1996/97. The final directive was adopted in 2001 and had to be legally implemented by the member states in 2004 (CEC 2001). Although there are many reasons in favour of an assessment procedure on the strategic level of plans and programmes, poor performance and shortcomings of EIA can be seen in some respects as the main driving force behind the emergent idea of SEA. In a certain sense SEA closes a gap which project related EIA left open: the integration of environmental concerns into strategic decision-making on the level of plans and programmes. The assessment of projects usually takes place with reference to existing plans and programmes. Thus, EIA is applied when decisions on the spatial allocation of infrastructure have already been made. Therefore EIA of singular projects or sites is usually too late to take all environmental concerns into consideration. The implications of this dilemma are far-ranging. Options for the search for alternatives are rather limited because the decision on a site of a project or a route has usually already been taken on the basis of the plan or programme in force. SEA takes this into account: probable significant environmental effects
134 Alessandro Balducci, Claudio Calvaresi and Karsten Zimmermann will be considered during the plan preparation and before the formal adoption. The SEA procedure certainly aims at a holistic evaluation of a spatial plan or regional development programme. The distinctiveness of SEA can be seen in the early assessment, the recognition of systemic and cumulative effects on the environment (comprehensiveness) and ongoing auditing of environmental impacts (monitoring). SEA is therefore expected to overcome some of the shortcomings of project related EIA (Partidario 2000; Flyvbjerg et al. 2003: 49f.). Furthermore, consideration and examination of reasonable and viable alternatives for the respective land use and infrastructure is recommended. SEA should provide conflict resolution in advance. However, the full extent of reasonable alternatives to be taken into account depends on many factors like the geographical scope and objective of the plan under scrutiny – and the knowledge available about probable impacts on different time scales. 7.2.2 Difference of EIA and SEA or: the hidden problematic of SEA SEA, though a convincing idea, is not without problems. While the subject for EIA is well defined (a project), the strategic component of SEA is not. In the formal sense as written in the directive, SEA refers to plans and programmes which set a framework for projects or other activities (CEC 2001). But what, then, is the exact subject of SEA? Is it a more or less well defined regional development strategy which is formulated as needs and options in a plan or programme? Or is it a Leitbild or strategic vision which is not directly connected to projects? To be more precise: is it an assessment of regional policy development or an extended project appraisal close to EIA? While the answer to this question remains open it seems to be clear that at the small scale level of single projects environmental impacts are much easier to predict. However, the practice and methods of SEA are quite similar to EIA – that is at least the interpretation of practitioners (Cashmore et al. 2007b). By copying the EIA approaches, which partly stem from the debate in the 1980s, SEA practitioners use models of rationality and environmental assessment which caused problems in EIA and seem to be inadequate for SEA (Cashmore et al. 2007b; Richardson 2005; Wallington et al. 2007). Some scholars suggest giving SEA a significantly different character from EIA and interpreting SEA in the sense of framing regional development: Along this line of thought, it will be argued that SEA preferably should be adopted as an indicative, rather than prescriptive, framework, that encourages good practice, rather than as a formal administrative procedure that exerts full governmental control. SEA should present a new form of taking decisions, defined by core elements that constitute a fundamental framework to be incrementally tailor made throughout policy making and planning practices and procedures. (Partidario 2000: 648) But it is not only the strategic character which justifies claims for a discrete approach to SEA. A further difference between EIA and SEA can be seen in the
Strategic environmental assessment 135 way sustainable development is put forward. While EIA is seen as an instrument for sustainable development in its form and practice it remains a pure assessment of physical and ecological impacts of a project (Cashmore et al. 2007a). SEA in contrast is expected to integrate the goals of sustainable development in a preparatory plan. It therefore should encompass a wider catalogue of indicators and concerns more in congruence with sustainability goals (Partidario 2000: 651; Cashmore et al. 2007a; CEC 2001). Whether SEA can perform a sustainability assessment and not just an environmental assessment (or environmental planning procedure) remains to be seen (Krautzberger 2005; Partidario 2000: 650–1). To date the implementation of the SEA directive in Europe reveals that SEA is organized in a way similar to the principles of EIA while the different requirements of SEA seem to be ignored. Institutional path dependencies and stable professional beliefs systems are obviously responsible for this. The particular character of strategic assessment in spatial development is less observable. In the following section we try to give more insights into the rationale of SEA and point to the possible shortcomings if it is implemented on the basis of former experiences with EIA. 7.2.3 The different rationale, the possible shortcomings and potentials of SEA as a knowledge generating mechanism Richardson states that environmental assessment procedures like EIA and SEA ‘are seen as a crucible for the construction of knowledge’ (Richardson 2005: 347). SEA, if applied to a regional plan or metropolitan development perspective, provides knowledge on long term environmental impacts which is more or less a mixture of scientific and expert knowledge in the form of an environmental report. The management of various knowledge forms and knowledge claims is a basic requirement in planning (Rydin 2007). Knowledge refers not only to the status quo but also to the imagined future development of the region. Besides scientific knowledge and expert knowledge in the form of environmental information, SEA provides procedural knowledge about how to weigh different aspects (what may be called knowledge related to aggregation rules). By prescribing the evaluation of reasonable alternatives, by identifying cumulative effects and by providing venues for deliberation, SEA has the potential for reflexivity and learning.2 Particularly with regard to the involvement of the public and the obligatory monitoring of environmental impacts SEA is supposed to work as a kind of feedback mechanism. In terms of sustainability we are inclined to speak of a procedural form of sustainability appraisal in contrast to a substantial form which usually uses a system of fixed indicators. Whilst these potentials of SEA are widely acknowledged our empirical results, as well the findings of other research, point to some weaknesses of SEA practices (Cashmore et al. 2007a). Our hypothesis is that the underlying rationale of SEA dates from a modernist planning ideal that can be summarized as scientific assessment that prepares a rational decision and is apolitical. This ideal has been deconstructed in planning theory at least since the 1980s and 1990s (Healey 2007;
136 Alessandro Balducci, Claudio Calvaresi and Karsten Zimmermann Richardson 2005; Flyvbjerg 1998). Nevertheless, we see current practice of SEA oriented towards a rational causal model and technical evaluative criteria. SEA as well as EIA is based on the assumption that objective identification and evaluation of environmental impacts is possible. Environmental assessment was envisaged as a tool that promoted sustainable development by generating scientific data which apolitical stakeholders (usually public administrators) used, alongside other information, to make rational design and approval decisions. (Cashmore et al. 2007b: 1) In this interpretation the preliminary result of an SEA, the environmental report, is information for political decision-makers, nothing more. This understanding of SEA relies on the un-questioned role of scientific knowledge and envisages a rather linear process of policy implementation. That this is out of touch with reality has been shown by Innes (1990) and the issue is back on the agenda in the recent debate on evidence based planning (Davoudi 2006). In fact empirical experience shows that the assessment procedure might provide a wealth of (scientific) information but ‘little contextualized knowledge’ (Nilsson and Dalkmann 2001: 320). Four aspects are worth mentioning here: 1 SEA should not be reduced to a means for informed planning ‘but also as a source of directing the development of social values’ (Wilkins 2003: 402). Richardson points to the disagreement in the literature concerning the question of how to deal with inevitable value conflicts in environmental assessment (Richardson 2005: 349). 2 We are more concerned with the level of abstraction of strategic environmental assessment which might imply that these kinds of assessments have no impact. Certainly the abstract level causes uncertainty and complexity which is aggravated by the requirement of monitoring. Here SEA differs significantly from EIA because ‘the predictability of environmental consequences generally becomes weaker at the strategic levels than at the project level and complexity increases in terms of numbers of actors involved in the decision’ (Nilsson and Dalkmann 2001: 305). 3 Due to the fact that the SEA procedure is embedded in political-administrative structures of power and professional belief systems ‘the construction of EA methodologies becomes a moment where knowledges get framed as being significant, as others are sidelined or ignored’ (Richardson 2005: 347). What is valued as valid knowledge depends on professional standards and political calculus (Flyvbjerg 1998). Therefore we have to take a careful look at institutional factors and politics (Richardson 2005; q.v. Rydin 2007). 4 If it is true ‘that any kind of border is under challenge in contemporary city regions’ (Balducci 2008: 3) and that we ‘have to understand whether a plan without a given territory is possible’ (ibid) we have also to reflect on the implications of the recent debate on relational concepts of space (Graham and Healey 1999)
Strategic environmental assessment 137 and dynamic processes re-scaling social and political activities (Swyngedouw 2004). Does this leave SEA as a senseless exercise, always lagging behind in a territorial trap? The above weaknesses and performance gaps are well known in spatial planning. The weak performance of structural planning following the ideal of comprehensiveness and long term determination of spatial development led to a renaissance of strategic spatial planning (see next section). Although many lessons may be drawn from the planning debate we are especially interested in the way knowledge is generated and used in planning procedures (Rydin 2007). The debate on strategic spatial planning has recognized this. Sartorio states that strategic spatial planning entails the replacement of a comprehensive entity achieved by a few specialists with expert knowledge, collecting as much information as possible, with a comprehensive entity produced by the interaction of as many actors as possible, each contributing different types of common knowledge. (Sartorio 2005: 30) Healey in her recent book also refers to the question of how spatial strategies might make use of the various forms of existing knowledge and related validity claims (Healey 2007: 235f.). She sees spatial strategy-making as social ‘constructions sites’ where multiple forms of knowledge and meanings of the region are negotiated, selected and filtered (Healey 2007: 239).3 We suggest, to be more policy relevant, to follow the route indicated in the debate on strategic spatial planning and to organize SEA with a sense of ‘collective inquiry’ or ‘probing’ (Lindblom 1990). However, the way SEA and EIA is currently done points in another direction: ‘The routines and technical practices of “impact assessment” are little substitute for a rich awareness of the multiple ways projects impacts may be experienced’ (Healey 2007: 247). We doubt that SEA in its current understanding can handle the multiplicity of knowledge forms in a local or regional planning procedure (exceptions admitted, see Case B in Richardson 2005: 354). Therefore the question is: Under which conditions could SEA be an enabling tool to introduce strategic thinking and adaptive reflexivity in policies, plans and programmes? Before answering this question, we have to follow in detail the evolution of the recent debate on strategic planning. We believe that territorial reflexivity as an element of strategic spatial planning contains useful suggestions for a conceptual redefinition of SEA, its rationale and objectives.
7.3 Strategic planning: what does it mean? Strategic planning is an ambiguous concept. In planning literature and in planning practices it means many different things. Trying to recognize the multiple traditions which have contributed to shape the concept in spatial planning is a hard task. In fact Albrechts argues that ‘there are no single, universally accepted definitions for strategy and strategic spatial planning. Various authors and practitioners use the term
138 Alessandro Balducci, Claudio Calvaresi and Karsten Zimmermann differently’ (Albrechts 2004: 746). The dominant view of strategic planning comes from private sector corporate planning. During the 1980s, in the United States, this kind of definition was introduced into the public domain. Bryson defines strategic planning as ‘a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization (or other entity) is, what it does, and why it does it’ (Bryson 1988). This model, different to the strategic planning introduced in the British planning system by the Town and Country Planning Act in 1968, is focused on organizations rather than on territorial communities. Its target is the improvement of organizational performances (rather than conforming local plans) and emphasis is put on action (rather than on general control). Moreover, the model is based on an initial agreement that involves key stakeholders (rather than on substantive general goals claiming to represent the public interest). After twenty years of theoretical debate on this topic, the weaknesses and limitations of this approach have been largely identified. This model pays more attention to producing a formally-approved strategy or strategic plan, rather than focussing on a generative strategic thinking (Healey 2007). It hardly handles the place-situated character of planning practices, because it is unable to focus on the specific issues of spatial planning, such as territoriality, qualities and meanings of place and the spatial dimension of strategy-making. For this reason, some authors prefer to use the notion of strategic spatial planning (SSP), in order to capture the new efforts [which] were underway in many parts of Europe to produce strategies for cities, subregions, and regions. [. . .] Strategic frameworks and visions for territorial development, with an emphasis on place qualities and the spatial impacts and integration of investments, complement and provide a context for specific development projects. (Albrechts et al. 2003: 113) Consequently, the current debate gives the term strategic planning a new meaning and content, trying to • • • •
combine the incrementalism of Lindblom with a long term perspective, build significant and generative visions for the future of territories experiencing turbulent and rapid changes, produce catalytic projects with the capacity to trigger chains of actions which can implement the vision, and finally to mobilize actors and to improve cooperation between them.
There is a fundamental contribution to understand differently the notion of what is strategic. Lindblom, in a little known essay about planning, in which he compares conventional planning with what he calls strategic planning, holds that this ‘is a method that treats the competence to plan as a scarce resource that must be carefully allocated, not overcommitted.’ (Lindblom 1975: 41). It is ‘planning that picks its assignments with discrimination, that employs a variety of devices to simplify its
Strategic environmental assessment 139 intellectual demands, that makes much of interaction and adapts analysis to interaction’ (Lindblom 1975: 41). Lindblom further states: Strategic planning is then systematically adapted in several specific strategic ways to interaction processes that take the place of analytical settlements of problems of organisation and change. [. . .] Specifically, strategic planning plans the participation of the planners (or of the government for which they plan) in interaction processes, rather than replacing the processes [. . .] Strategic planning tries to make systematic use of the intelligence with which individuals and groups in the society pursue their own preferences by molding their pursuit, rather than substituting the planners’ intelligence wholly for individual’s or groups’ [. . .] Strategic planning attempts to develop and plan, in the light of, a rationale for deciding which effects are to be achieved through decision and which only as epiphenomena. (Lindblom 1975: 44–5) The discussion proposed in very abstract form by Lindblom is full of practical implications. Lindblom’s words clarify that the word strategic has different meanings in SEA and SSP. In SEA the word strategic has at least two implications. First, the scope of assessment is extended as whole regions and respective plans are under scrutiny and not projects. Second, the scale of assessment is extended as the sustainability agenda implies that more issues have to be taken into account. Furthermore strategy in SEA has a temporal dimension as spatial developments have to be assessed before projects are implemented. In SSP strategic is similar to adaptive reflexivity as trajectories for future development are indicated that are nevertheless open for change. Furthermore, general visions as overarching strategies instead of detailed plans or small steps are generated. Strategic planning provides a cognitive space and guidance for the future (concretization). This necessarily means to be discriminatory as priorities have to be fixed (Wiechmann 2008). In the German discussion SSP stands for a slow turning away from project based planning which dominated spatial planning in the 1990s and which led to a more or less visible – but unwanted – fragmentation of regional development (ibid.). Therefore a new desire for comprehensiveness or strategic guidance emerged in the early years of this century without reproducing the mistakes and inflated expectations of the integrated planning ideal of the 1970s. Healey reminds us that strategy formation follows a communicative rationality when she describes: strategy formation and use in the public domain as some form of collaboration among diverse actors, through a mixture of formal and informal interactive processes, drawing on diverse forms of knowledge. (Healey 2007: 31) This interpretation has influenced planning practice in Italy where some innovative initiatives of strategic spatial plans (e.g. for the Milan urban region) seek to deal
140 Alessandro Balducci, Claudio Calvaresi and Karsten Zimmermann with the issue of the relationship between the plan, its territory, a new vision for the future of the territory, the formation of actions, projects, proposals which are able to contribute to interpret positively and develop the vision, the involvement of a plural set of actors which are able to support the projects (Balducci 2008). The general assumption has been that in a situation of extremely fragmented powers, loss of meaning of administrative boundaries, absence of hierarchy between actors, strategic planning has necessarily to be experimental, tentative, directed to the discovery of potentials rather than to design and implementation of precise end states. In this case the group who managed the initiative founded the approach upon the theoretical contributions of Lindblom, Albrechts and Healey described above rather than upon the mainstream view of strategic planning coming from the world of private business. The strategic plan for the Province of Milan proposed a new vision for the Milan area, the so-called ‘habitability’ (a sort of multi-dimensional notion of livability), with the aim of introducing a term which is not in common use and which might therefore raise public awareness of the general objective of the planning process. In order to put this notion into practice, the strategic plan tried to define it in different ways (six possible interpretations of habitability in the fields of housing, mobility and environment, public spaces, cultural promotion, local welfare, innovation and business creation) and to promote a call for projects and good practices which could contribute to the improvement of habitability. The call, open to many different subjects (municipalities, foundations, universities, local associations, non-profit organizations, etc.), was an attempt to reach the ‘actors of the habitability’, to demonstrate that this notion could work as a framework for their actions and projects. The huge response that the call received (more than 250 proposals arrived at the final evaluation step) shows that local society perceived habitability as a mobilizing challenge, a credible scenario. The participants used the call to re-frame their initiatives according to the perspective of habitability, to reflect upon their mission and values. They demanded support in creating networks across different projects and practices and to be helped in creating new communication channels with the public administration. In sum, the call worked not only as a tool to introduce local and everyday knowledge into the planning process, but also as a device to provoke reflexivity and joint action. Having in mind also this kind of initiative, we could finally consider the debate on strategic planning as an attempt to abandon the formalistic view of corporate planning in order to remain with the core elements of this notion, with its political character, with the strategic rationality embedded in planning practices, with the discovery of the intimate communicative nature of planning activities where a number of different actors are involved, and professional and lay forms of knowledge interact.
7.4 Strategy making and SEA: how could SEA be an enabling tool to introduce strategic thinking in policies, plans and programmes? Based on the above suggestions, we can take a step forward in our discussion, proposing three final remarks concerning the link between strategy making,
Strategic environmental assessment 141 knowledge forms and governance modes. We will identify the main weaknesses, the lessons that SEA can learn from strategic planning, and finally we will propose some suggestions to improve the performance of SEA. 1 While the underling rationale of SEA comes from a modernist planning ideal, the debate on SSP argues that strategy making is political in itself, aimed at ‘creating policy discourse through which specific decisions and practices are focused’. (Albrechts et al. 2003: 128) According to this statement, SEA could be seen as the last attempt to recover a rational approach for planning after the criticisms of the rational-comprehensive model and the post-modernist contributions, which tried to understand planning as a communicative and interactive practice. SEA seems to revitalize a past planning ideal: A value-free and objective technique can supply a systematic assessment of possible alternatives, allowing planners and decision makers to select the best option. The same strategic character of SEA is identified in its apolitical position, as well as in its synoptic vision. SSP uses visions and images for the future to frame policy problems. Different forms of knowledge are in use in this activity. Planners try to make scientific discourse accessible in order to shape the attention of actors and in doing so they combine professional and everyday knowledge. Professional knowledge has to frame the vision of the future of a territory in a way that could influence and transform the frame of the actors. According to Schön, by setting problems the planner helps actors to generate new frames and to establish a back-talk conversation with the problem situation. The important knowledge is based on reflection in action, produced by a strategy of continuously shifting between problems and solutions (Schön 1983). The emergence of ‘usable knowledge’ is the outcome of interactive activities, which involve diverse actors, exchanging professional, steering, institutional, everyday forms of knowledge. This discussion leads us to conclude that SEA practices, particularly in complex systems, should use interaction as a form of analysis and use strategic assessment as a support for social learning and self-reflection. SEA should mobilize the intelligence embedded in decentralized social networks, and allow for collective inquiry and probing. The very limited possibilities of comprehensive assessment and the necessity to be discriminatory should help to overcome the strong appeal of the rhetoric of omnipotence. Finally, SEA should not only assess effects and impacts, but also contribute to the design of desired effects and impacts (viable alternatives) and offer ways to achieve them. SEA should contribute to building and implementing new visions, addressing sustainability as a crucial component of desirable scenarios, and conditions to reach or improve it as strategic devices to provoke sensemaking and to mobilize actors. By acting in such a way, it is less important for SEA to be accurate, and more important to be plausible. As Weick argues, ‘accurate perceptions have the power to immobilize. People who want to get into action tend to simplify rather than elaborate.
142 Alessandro Balducci, Claudio Calvaresi and Karsten Zimmermann [Perceptions] can never be accurate because, by the time people notice and name something, it has become something else and no longer exists’ (Weick 1995: 60). 2 SEA is mainly driven by scientific knowledge, while strategy making processes combine different forms of knowledge in order to generate social learning. SEA provides a wealth of scientific data (relevant environmental information) and procedural knowledge about how to weigh different aspects. Because of the primacy of scientific and professional validity claims, SEA tends to underestimate the value of others sources of knowledge (local, milieu, everyday life knowledge), and to impair the formation of reflective knowledge. Planning theorists argue that the added value of strategy making is its capacity to transform perceptions of actors, to produce new points of view (via an activity of reframing policy problems) and to introduce innovation (via mutual learning). Here, the issue is the role of the planner and the use of his/her expert knowledge to promote social learning.4 Strategic planning processes challenge the identity of a profession for which the gap that separates the expert from ordinary people and paradigms of technical rationality are still constitutive. It is a way of mobilizing various kinds of actors and skills, a process of social probing that emphasizes the value of ordinary knowledge, rather than ignoring the contribution from ordinary people. A crucial skill of planners is their capacity to listen. Listening by planners ‘can work to create a sense of mutuality in place of the suspicion of a vociferous collection of individuals’ (Forester 1989: 111). By listening and posing questions, planners ‘probe for deeper interests, for still undisclosed but relevant information, for new ideas about possible strategies, agreements or project outcomes’ (Forester 1989: 109; Forester 2006). According to a conventional view of the role of information in planning, experts acquire information to gain more insights on their subject to be planned (survey before planning) and to improve the quality of decisions (Innes 1998). The conventional view of information and the myth of scientific canons of professional inquiry were rejected in planning theory as planners began to accept a lay vision of knowledge. Innes (Innes 1990) argued that: (i) knowledge is not produced by experts exclusively, but non-experts also have knowledge to contribute; (ii) the process of informing policy is an interactive process, where the division of labour between technician and politician is not rigidly defined; (iii) first we must know what kind of policy we want and then we can gather information and create indicators.5 So ‘usable knowledge’ is a mix of expert and ordinary knowledge. The value of usable knowledge is socially constructed in the community where it is used and reveals its potentials to promote a process of social learning (Freeman 2007).6 SEA procedures in their current form do not leave much space for the production of reflective knowledge. What is crucial for a positive development of SEA practices is to understand that promoting reflective knowledge has something to do with the institutional settings in which SEA practices take place. On the basis of a certain number of case studies in the GFORS project, we can state that SEA initiatives
Strategic environmental assessment 143 tend to create their own arena (a forum with the actors involved in sustainability policy issues), often aside from the institutional arena of decision makers where the binding decisions are taken. This dilemma has at least three consequences: The first one is that, obviously, the arena that counts is the other one, the SEA arena often acting just as a space of self-representation of actors. The second one, more relevant for our discussion, is that the distinction of the two arenas does not allow exchange of information between different actors, preventing reflective knowledge which is the main driver for processes of framing and re-framing. The third one is that SEA, quite paradoxically compared to its goals, ends with strengthening the role of experts (the SEA experts), rather than improved public deliberation. The suggestion is not only to look for procedures for coupling the two arenas, but above all that formal arenas should not be interpreted as the main way to deal with issues of participation. In processes of public involvement the institutional design should not be a pre-requisite to activate participation, but it should be one of the possible outcomes of the same processes. Strategic planning initiatives provide cases which have experimented with different sites through which actors have been involved, more or less institutionalized. In our opinion is not important how wide participation is in SEA procedures, or if it is more or less embodied in institutionalized procedures, but to what extent it allows for strategic reflection. It should be oriented towards an informed and accountable process of collective evaluation, aimed at producing self-reflection. 3 SEA procedures try to insert a strategic dimension in plans and programmes, while SSP tries to promote innovation in planning practices. SEA aims to incorporate a (strategic) method in the formalized process of planning tools. To what extent is a new (strategic) method able to transform the rationale of a more consolidated planning tool? We suspect that it will remain a well defined procedure, an added element to a consolidated planning or programming process, but limited in its capacity to transform it. As we have stated before, the fact–value dichotomy is widely ignored. SEA is based on the assumption that objective identification and evaluation of environmental impacts is possible. It reproduces a questionable distinction between evaluation of plans and programmes and the formulation of plans and programmes by recognizing a specific technical field for the former and a mainly political field for the latter. SEA can provide recommendations to plans and programmes with its own technical tools but the responsibility for making choices political in nature lies with local political leaders for which professionals provide a consultancy service. The legitimacy of professionals relies on their technical expertise and their accountability has to be measured by the capacity to produce technical answers to political problems. The clarity in stating the responsibilities of planning and politics and placing planning activity back at the service of politicians is precisely the weak point of this position, because it returns to a vision in which planning is the exclusive
144 Alessandro Balducci, Claudio Calvaresi and Karsten Zimmermann responsibility of the political sphere and not also, as is becoming increasingly obvious, a field in which other actors (private and third sector) are mobilized and active and with whom one of the roles played by professionals is more political (mobilization, consultation, support, supervision in processes, etc.). From a completely different perspective, Patsy Healey looks at the way in which strategy-making initiatives can be politically relevant, helping specific episodes of social or institutional innovation to be transformed into more stable governance practices and eventually travelling into different contexts to re-shape the dominant governance culture. According to the three levels of governance performances proposed by Healey (Healey 2007: 20–5), we can state that spatial strategy-making initiatives often produce new institutional arenas involving different actors and promoting interactions between them (the first level of ‘governance episodes’). They are finalized to establish networks and coalitions (the second level of ‘governance processes’) which perform governance activities. The third level is that of ‘governance culture’, which ‘refers to the cultural assumptions through which the rhetorics and practices of those involved in “doing governance”, in significant collective action, derive their meaning and legitimacy’ (Healey 2007: 22). So, to be effective, SSP initiatives have to determine new governance processes. However, it is also possible that – as Healey underlines – they may have no immediate impacts on governance processes in a planning episode but produce impacts on governance culture over the longer term, generating ideas, discourses and practices. Healey’s approach seems interesting for our discussion because she explains how it is possible to produce impacts on governance processes and cultures even starting from the margin of specific governance episodes (or time- and space-bound planning processes). The relevant conclusion is that a weak, not formalized tool, such as a spatial strategy making initiative can produce alterations in governance performances even more than a strong formalized procedure (like SEA). It might be a good suggestion for the future development of SEA if practitioners accept that its main objective is not the assessment of plans or programmes but the promotion of a strategic use of the assessment procedures in order to influence governance processes and cultures, to make a contribution for designing desired effects and impacts, and to open opportunities for achieving them.
Notes 1 See national reports at http://www.gfors.eu 2 The learning outcomes of SEA are in need of differentiation because SEA might lead to many learning-based changes. Cashmore et al. for example distinguish social learning, technical learning and scientific learning (Rydin 2007: 520). Several authors pointed to limitations of EIA and SEA procedures in this regard (Wilkins 2003; Cashmore et al. 2007a; Saarikoski 2000; Heinelt et al. 2000). 3 ‘Spatial strategy-making episodes are social construction sites, arenas in which multiple types of knowing about what is significant and about what could happen are explored’ (Healey 2007: 236).
Strategic environmental assessment 145 4 ‘Despite the fact that planners have little influence on the structure of ownership and power in this society, they can influence the conditions that render citizens able (or unable) to participate, act, and organize effectively regarding issues that affect their lives’ (Forester 1989: 28) 5������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ In another contribution, she points out that planners have learned to rely more on qualitative, interpretative inquiry than on logical deductive analysis (Innes 1995). 6 Friedmann states that ‘the definition of the problem may result from linking expert with experiential knowledge in a process of mutual learning’ (Friedmann 1993: 484).
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8 How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg The impacts of reflective knowledge demonstrated in an empirical case of implementing the EU emissions trading scheme Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt 8.1 Introduction ‘How great expectations in Washington are dashed in Oakland. Or, why it’s amazing that federal programs work at all’. This subtitle of Pressman and Wildavsky’s (1973) seminal book on implementation addresses key features of implementation and can easily be translated to EU policies in general or single EU environment programmes, such as the emissions trading scheme in particular (for the ‘implementation deficit’ of EU environmental policy, see Jordan 1999; Knill and Liefferink 2007). In the following we will tackle these features with reference to the application of the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS), with a specific focus on the plan of a major German energy supplier (Eon) to build a power plant in the German municipality of Großkrotzenburg in the context of this scheme. We will concentrate on key problems of implementation emphasized by Mayntz (1987) who argues that in order to achieve targeted compliance with and implementation of policies, it is necessary to address motives and to find ways to safeguard the willingness to comply on the part of those involved or addressed. Furthermore, Mayntz emphasized that it is essential to take into account and mobilize the knowledge of those actors relevant for achieving the intended effects. Knowledge related to the way actors perceive and make sense of the physical and social dimension of the world they live in is crucial for defining a policy problem, putting it on the political agenda and finding means to address it, as well as for the application of regulations. Knowledge therefore is the prerequisite for any intentional action. In the following the role of knowledge in the implementation of public policies will be assessed. It will be argued that the way actors choose specific forms and contents of knowledge to base their actions on can be described as free choice (in the sense of being neither deterministic in a given context nor arbitrary). The specific degree of freedom in the phase of implementation depends on the availability of one specific form of knowledge – in the following called reflective knowledge (for more detail see Chapters 3 and 5).
148 Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt Reflective knowledge must be considered as meta-knowledge making the c ontingent character of other forms of knowledge visible for its holder by raising awareness of competing ways of making sense of the world.1 This is the first step towards intentionally influencing the way actors within a specific action situation interpret the world, i.e. knowledge choices they make. This is the precondition for the actor to intentionally impact upon this choice of knowledge in a second step thereby making it a free choice. We will relate the term reflective knowledge to processes of implementation during which actors have to consider how to apply a policy instrument in a concrete case. In such processes actors not only have to reflect and interpret the case-specific conditions (following Ostrom et al. 1994, these are termed the ‘attributes of the physical world’, see chapter 3) for applying a policy instrument. Actors also have to interpret the generally defined content of the policy and the rules to implement a policy instrument, and these processes of interpretation cannot be understood without considering preferences and interests as well as the norms and values of the involved or affected actors. How actors use an instrument in a concrete case has to be related to the way it makes sense for them, and such sense-making relies not least on the mobilization of knowledge which enables actors to apply the instrument purposefully and strategically according to their preferences and interests (or to what they desire and what they wish to achieve). Reflective knowledge therefore refers to conscious attempts to construct elements of reality that seem relevant for political action in a specific context (e.g. the application of a specific policy instrument) Thus we intend to address the basic question of implementation research mentioned at the beginning in a specific way. We do not start from the assumption, that actors who are involved in implementing a certain instrument simply accept the expectations of those (in Washington or Brussels) who decided on this instrument. We argue that when actors consider how to adopt a policy instrument in a concrete case they do not necessarily reflect and interpret case-specific conditions in a way that ensures the expectations of higher-level policy makers are realized. We also need to consider that these actors may apply the instrument according to what they desire and what they wish to achieve. The result can be that great expectations (from an outside perspective or from ‘above’) are dashed during implementation. Usually such a result is perceived as indicating an ‘implementation deficit’. However, we argue that such a result can also be seen as an outcome of self-determination by those addressed or affected by a policy instrument. To reach such (local) self-determination those involved in implementation have to develop what we call reflective knowledge to meet their preferences and interests or to achieve what they desire. In the following we will first briefly illustrate how these considerations can be understood within a modified version of Ostrom’s IAD-approach (Ostrom et al. 1994). As pointed out in Chapter 3 policy making processes take place within the institutional setting of governance arrangements involving different kinds of actors and their interactions. These interactions are shaped by two filtering processes. Following Nullmeier (1993) we conceptualize them as choices of knowledge, the first one referring to choices of interpretation about the ‘attributes of the physical
How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg 149 world’ and the ‘rules-in-use’ that are pre-structured by the specific ‘attributes of the community’ involved or even related to the corresponding governance arrangement, and the second one referring to a choice of action, i.e. the selection of knowledge (pre-structured by choices of interpretation) that becomes transferred into actual outputs (Deutungswahl and Handlungswahl, Nullmeier 1993). In a second step it will be considered how the other levels of political action, namely ‘meta governing’ and ‘second order governing’ (see Chapter 3) establish the scope for the possible impact of reflective knowledge on the level of first order governing, where the implementation of public policies takes place.2 In the third part of the chapter these considerations will be applied to the adoption of the EUs emissions trading directive in the context of the international discourse on climate change, the adoption of the EU ETS, and to a case study of local/regional level governance arrangement connected to the implementation of the directive in Germany. We conduct a within-case analysis by applying the method of process tracing (see Bennett and Elman 2006). By considering in detail the features of our case, by distinguishing and assessing the different strands, we seek to identify the mechanisms through which reflective knowledge affected the case’s development. This will lead to some concluding formulation of more general hypotheses on the relevance of reflective knowledge for democratic governance.
8.2 Knowledge filtering and reflective action As pointed out in Chapter 3 we distinguish two different knowledge-related filtering processes both of which we conceptualize as choices of knowledge (Wissenswahl; Nullmeier 1993; see Figure 8.1). Through a first filtering process a knowledge
First order governing
generally binding decisions
Figure 8.1 Policy processes in the three governing orders
Filter 2: choice of action
(Possibly reflective) actors’ options
Knowledge about ‘R-i-U’ & ‘AotPW’
Second order governing
‘Attributes of the physical world’
Construction through framing
Filter 1: attributes of the community/ choice of interpretation
150 Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt formation takes place that impacts upon the actors’ knowledge about the ‘attributes of the physical world’ (i.e. the material policy problem) and the ‘rules-in-use’ (i.e. the institutional opportunities and constraints for action) which are perceived as relevant for their interaction in particular action arenas. Slightly modifying the conceptual reflections of Chapter 3 we argue that this formation process is structured (not determined) by the ‘attributes of the community’3 (see Figure 8.1). Emphasizing the contingent character of the resulting problem perceptions, the challenges to be addressed and the conflicts to be resolved and also of the institutional context considered as relevant to solve, to address, or to resolve them, this first filtering process must be understood as a choice of interpretation (Deutungswahl; Nullmeier 1993). The choice of interpretation during the first filtering process takes place as a particular choice of knowledge forms (Wissenswahl; Nullmeier 1993) resulting in certain assumptions of appropriateness (referring to the ‘rules-in-use’) and assumptions of relevant causality (referring to the ‘attributes of the physical world’). This filtering process therefore results in a specific place-, context- and actor-related combination of different knowledge forms for which the term ‘knowledge order’ or ‘KnowledgeScape’ (see Matthiesen and Reisinger in Chapter 5) can be used because different knowledge forms are related to each other in a hierarchical arrangement. Such knowledge orders are not only context- and actor-but also placerelated because different knowledge forms are bound to more or less (or weak and strong) institutionalized networks and milieus. After choices of interpretation the choices of action (Handlungswahl; Nullmeier 1993) are taken in a second filtering process. In their particular action situation, actors use the knowledge provided by a ‘KnowledgeScape’ and select or agree on the selection of the knowledge which seems to be relevant (or appropriate) for them for choosing a course of action in a particular action situation to achieve a specific policy outcome. Therefore, the choices of action are conceptualized as knowledge choices.4 Within such a constellation actors can hold reflective knowledge as a strategic capacity to act. In this case the actors will not only make use of knowledge about the ‘attributes of the physical world’ and the ‘rules-in-use’ that is provided by a particular knowledge order, they will also actively try to impact upon the contents of this knowledge order. This is possible in two ways (see Figure 8.1 where this is marked as ‘reflective action’, i.e. action based on reflective knowledge). The actors can either impact upon the input into the first filter or they can try to impact upon the first filter itself by changing the ‘attributes of the community’. Both ways will be considered in the next paragraphs, and instances of practically-applied reflective knowledge will be illustrated by a case study on the implementation of EU emissions trading, which will be presented later. In Chapter 3 it was argued that we can (following Kooiman, 2000: 143ff.; 2002: 86–87 and 2003: 133ff.) distinguish three interrelated governing orders: meta governing, second order governing and first order governing. In meta governing basic choices are taken that are fundamental for the coordination (and understanding) of the determination of societal interactions. These choices impact on second order governing where decisions are taken which are binding for societal interactions. First order governing refers to the ‘world of actions’ (Kiser and Ostrom 1982) in
How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg 151 which societally binding decisions are applied (implemented). Ostrom’s IAD framework (Ostrom et al. 1994, Ostrom 1999; see Chapter 3) has been linked to these governing orders (or ‘worlds of actions’) because Kiser and Ostrom pointed out that at each of these three levels choices are taken in an action arena conceptualized in the way outlined above. The ‘attributes of the physical world’ and the ‘attributes of the community’ may differ from one level to the other and the related action arena. But by the ‘rules-in-use’ (or ‘rules in the head’ as Ostrom [1999:53] terms them) the different levels of choices are linked together because choices on fundamentals for the coordination of societal interactions impact on binding decisions and these impact on ‘operational choices’ in first order governing. However, not only such a top-down process is possible. One can also think about a bottom-up process through which the application of ‘rules-in-use’ shapes choices on rules to be taken in processes of meta and second order governing. These bottom-up processes are strongly related to an understanding of reflective knowledge. Instead of taking top-down generated action contexts as fixed constraints for their actions actors can ex post attempt to change this context from below. This is observable for example when actors within a specific action arena try to re-interpret the ‘rules in use’ of their institutional context to change responsibilities for a given problem. This option will be illustrated empirically in the case study in this chapter.
8.3 The case of EU emissions trading In the following the theoretical approach outlined above will be applied to the different levels of political choices connected to the introduction of a market for tradable CO2 permits through EU directive 2003/87/EC. The basic idea of this policy instrument is to assign CO2 emissions with monetary costs by distributing scarce rights for emission units and allow for the trading of these rights in a market. While policy makers fix the overall amount of emissions rights in the market and thereby seek to secure the effectiveness of the instrument the market mechanism itself is intended to guarantee the efficiency of emissions reduction. By state interventions each affected enterprise – or in case of the supranational EU directive each participating state – is assigned a limited number of quotas to emit CO2. The price for emissions rights is regulated by the market, i.e. by the demand and supply of tradable rights. The reduction aim is intended to be achieved by the market at minimal costs (i.e. efficiently) because each emitter affected by the regulation will weigh up if it is cheaper to reduce emissions, e.g. by investment in new technologies, or to buy additional rights from other emitters who possibly have more efficient options for saving them. Through this mechanism the reductions will always take place where the costs are least. Since prices in this process are completely determined by the trading process it can – postulating an ideal market5 – be assumed that, independent from the initial allocation of rights, the welfare optimal (i.e. cheapest) way of achieving the goal will be followed. In the following the role of reflective knowledge in the implementation of the EU ETS will be assessed by distinguishing between the impacts of the three governing orders (see Chapter 2 for an overview of the developments of meta governing and
152 Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt second order governing on emissions trading). These levels will only be considered briefly to allow for a basic understanding of the pre-structured conditions for the application of reflective knowledge in first order governing. 8.3.1 Meta governing and second order governing: setting the frame and establishing the rules of emissions trading As illustrated in figure 8.2 there are two ways the inputs for the first filtering process are generated through meta governing. First, meta governing directly constructs an understanding of the physical world we live in and of connected material policy problems through processes of framing.6 Second, this framing also structures reflections (and political debates) and whether or not the given ‘rules-in-use’ make sense or are seen as appropriate to solve the identified problems. Although new ‘rules-in-use’ are designed and adopted at the level of second order governing, processes of meta governing can pre-shape possible solutions for a policy problem framed in a specific way without making them legally binding. Constructing the ‘attributes of the physical world’: After a period of scientific research and the rise of political interest in the topic of climate change that had its origins in the early 20th century and reaches till the 1980s (see Schröder 2001: 10–19) the current framing of climate change began to emerge with the foundation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. Widely accepted as the basic institution to provide politically relevant knowledge on climate change (see Agrawala 1998a, 1998b) the IPCC contributed to a framing of climate change as a global problem resulting from the fact that CO2 emitters can treat the burdening of the global climate as an external effect, i.e. leave its negative consequences unconsidered because they do not have to pay for it directly. Pre-Shaping the ‘Rules-in-Use’: One of the tasks of the IPCC is to inform policy making with viable options to address the problem of climate change. The way
‘Attributes of the physical world’
Figure 8.2 Meta governing
How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg 153 that the IPCC interprets the problem opens the door for economic instruments that internalize the costs of burdening the global climate for the emitters. Emissions trading is an instrument that follows this approach. In its Second Assessment Report the IPCC (1995: 15) explicitly mentioned emissions trading as a possible policy option in prominent place significantly above regulatory measures. The binding decision making on ‘rules-in-use’, i.e. second order governing, within the political multi-level-system of the EU has different dimensions. The formulation and adoption of the EU directive on emissions trading takes place at EU level. However, the implementation of the directive into national law (in the following the German case will be considered) and the adoption of National Allocation Plans belong to the national level of political action. After the introduction of the EU ETS within the context of the Kyoto process and its implementation, the first National Allocation Plans were adopted by member states. The case tudy on first order governing in this chapter falls into this period of time. In Germany the EU directive on emissions trading was implemented with the ‘Law on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading’ (Treibhausgas-Emissionshandelsgesetz, TEHG), which came into force on 15 July 2004.7 All operators of power plants with a combustion heat performance of more than 20 mega watts as well as energy intense industrial plants now have to engage in the trading process to fulfil a certain reduction target for CO2 emissions. Our case study falls within the time frame of the first trading period. The relevant ‘rules-in-use’ are from the first National Allocation Plan (1st NAP) of Germany, implemented through an allocation law (the Zuteilungsgesetz 2007/ ZuG 2007). According to this law the authority for emissions trading (Deutsche Emissionshandelsstelle, DEHSt) calculates and distributes the amount of allowances for each enterprise on the basis of data declared by the enterprises. These data are controlled by authorized experts and checked by the DEHSt. In the allocation of emissions rights for the period between 2005 and 2007 the rights were distributed among the participating companies for free (‘grandfathering’).8 8.3.2 First order governing: a case study on reflective knowledge and emissions trading In the context of a strong public awareness of the topic of climate change and within the legal frame of the first trading period the large German energy provider Eon decided to invest 1.2 billion Euros in the construction of a new coal fired power plant. Three obsolete units of an existing plant were intended to be replaced by the
Second order governing
Figure 8.3 Second order governing
Construction through generally binding decisions
154 Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt new construction by 2012, which would double the capacity of energy production at the site. This investment is considered for the power plant ‘Staudinger’ which is situated within the municipality Großkrotzenburg in Hesse on the river Main.9 Four steps in the case’s development can be distinguished. Step 1 – An operational choice initiating the case: Initially Eon’s decision to build a new power generation unit was guided by market-oriented considerations. This is not surprising as an enterprises’ basic target is profit maximization in the context of economic competition. After the general decision on building a new power plant the question arose where should this be located. So a competition took place, this time internal to the enterprise. Different power plants belonging to Eon sought to prove that they were best suited to be renewed and expanded and therefore to get the huge investment. The Staudinger location won the competition promising to be the most profitable location for building the new plant. Eon argued that Staudinger was the best possible site because of its proximity to consumers’, it’s well trained staff, good infrastructure and its location on an existing site. During the internal competition another aspect was also relevant: According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) the director of the Staudinger power plant emphasized from the beginning that the internal decision also depended on the acceptance (or non-acceptance) of the project in the region. A positive attitude towards the project within the region was one of the preconditions for a decision favouring Staudinger. At the time there was little attention among citizens or local parties when the possibility of the new unit was initially announced by Eon. So the enterprise decided for the location and made it public in December 2006. According to interviews, as well as to media coverage, there was still no strong protest against the project at that time. In this early phase no reflective knowledge can be detected. Eon considered the ‘rules-in-use’ provided by the TEHG and the ZuG 2007 as variables affecting the expected profit of the investment and therefore took them into account in their economic calculation during the decision making procedure. Eon considered a specific law (the BImSchG) as given and planned its actions accordingly. It is not possible to detect any instances of awareness about the contingent character of the ‘rules-in-use’, nor were there any attempts to change the action context. This result is due to the absence of local protest at that time Eon was expecting a straightforward administrative procedure of approval for their plans. From that perspective there simply seemed to be no need for reflectivity as the relevant ‘rules-in-use’ were thought to promise favourable results for the enterprise. Step 2 – Politicization of the case and development of protest strategies: Protest activities started in 2007 and in March of that year the civil action group ‘Stopp Staudinger – Klimaschutz statt Eon-Schmutz’ (‘Stop Staudinger – Climate Protection instead of Eon’s pollution’) was founded. The protest emerged in a network structure. The civil action group itself is a network integrating different smaller local protest groups. The action group actively built and maintained connections to different groups of actors to support the protest. They tried to mobilize citizens by providing them with knowledge at public evenings or special information desks. The civil action group and its supporters put considerable and constant effort into the
How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg 155 First order governing
Filter 2: Choice of action
R-i-U “ ”
(Possibly reflexive) actors’ options
Knowledge about & AotPW “ ”
Filter 1: Attributes of the community/ choice of interpretation
‘Attributes of the physical world’
Figure 8.4 First order governing
process of mobilizing support and convincing citizens. They did so by distributing their knowledge through public processes of arguing or through public reasoning. The protest had the objective of enforcing a hierarchical decision by public authorities against the construction of the power plant. Another option would have been to convince Eon to give up its plans, however, this option, was both from Eon’s point of view and that of the civil action group deemed unrealistic. So the civil action group focused its efforts on a hierarchical decision. This must be considered as an expression of reflective knowledge as it shows awareness of the action context in which the chosen strategy seems the only way of changing the likely progression of events. The bodies that were considered capable of making those decisions were the judiciary (court decisions) and the executive (a political decision by the Hessian government). The final goal of the civil action group had always been the prevention of the power plants’ construction. As an intermediate goal they demanded a spatial planning procedure for Eon’s plans. While the judicial method demanded a legal and more formal approach (that the civil action group also considered) the Hessian government could be addressed more flexibly. The protesters did so by applying political pressure and a related bargaining mode of interaction. Their political pressure resulted from the threat of a loss of political acceptance for the government in the run up to the election of the Hessian parliament. They showed
156 Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt the strength of the protest by collecting almost 2000 signatures against the power plant and by organizing a big demonstration. In the early phase of the protest and the founding of the civil action group initial examples of reflective knowledge can be detected that set the course for the future. In this respect it is enlightening to look at the group’s name (‘Stop Staudinger – Climate Protection instead of Eon’s pollution’) and at the context in which it was chosen. Our interviews revealed that the emitting of fine dust was a major concern in the protest, and appeared to overshadow the climate issue. However, the later was more prominent in the campaign. This must be considered a strong strategic move. First, it weakened the impact of the ‘rules-in-use’ provided by the BImSchG, which would have granted Eon a right for approval as long as the prescribed thresholds were not exceeded. Therefore, one can detect a first reflective response by the protesters to the ‘rules-in-use’. The emphasis on climate change also expanded the community of possible supporters. Only a small group of directly affected citizens was likely to become active against fine dust, which is predominantly framed as a rather local problem. The case is different with climate change. Due to strong public awareness of this issue the group of interested actors increased. The broad media coverage of the case provides proof that this strategy worked. Nation-wide awareness of the case enhanced the pressure on Eon, who had its reputation at stake, and on political decision makers to become involved in the case to prevent the new power plant from being built. Interviewed representatives of local parties claimed that at first none of the protesters were aware of the possible dangers that the power plant’s emissions posed to human health. This knowledge spread within an evolving broader local, as well as increasingly regional, action arena after some delay, which seems to be a plausible explanation for the rather late politicization of the case. The fear of harm to human health seemed to be of the utmost importance for the protest. The knowledge claim of the protesting actors was that the power plant produced emissions of air pollutants that threatened human health, especially children and old people. They therefore argued that the power plant should not be expanded. Different emphases within this claim can be detected. Some actors argued that the power plant should not be expanded if it could not be guaranteed that pollution levels would not increase. Others generally opposed the expansion and insisted on alternative ways of energy production. Often knowledge on health effects of particulate matter was put forward with strong emotions of fear and sometimes underlined with examples of personal experiences, like children in the neighbourhood developing asthma. Eon itself promised that the emission levels for air pollutants (like particulate matter, methane, and sulphur dioxide) would not increase due to technical advances, would be lower than current emissions, and that no health effects could be expected. Some of the involved actors emphasized that they did not trust this promise – rather they believed emission levels would rise. In February 2007, one month before the civil action group was founded the first part of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC Climate change 2007: The Physical Science Basis was published. This report strongly stimulated the global discourse on climate change and attracted considerable media attention, thus
How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg 157 providing a fruitful basis for the possible utilization of the topic to draw attention to the Staudinger case. These observations seem to support the claim that knowledge on particulate matter was at the core of the protesters motivation while the climate change topic was regarded as a good opportunity for mobilizing the support of actors at various levels. Thus a second reflective response by organized local actors can be observed, this time affecting the first filter itself by changing the ‘attributes of the community’ through incorporation of new groups of actors. Those were first the readers of the newspapers that covered the case, who had an indirect but presumably strong effect by also being voters in the Hessian parliament election that was then imminent; and second the members within the Hessian parliament and government that picked up the issue to defend either the civil action group’s or Eon’s concerns. Moreover, through the government’s and the parliament’s actions experts on issues like possible technical alternatives to the coal fired plant or on the legal aspects of Eon’s plans were included in the community of actors. These experts were requested to provide expert evidence that figured prominently in the governmental and parliamentary hearings. Step 3 – Responses to the protest: Facing a strong protest the Hessian government found itself facing a difficult dilemma. On the one hand it saw the necessity to respond to the protest to secure its acceptance by the people (voting public); on the other hand it also had the aim of supporting the Hessian economy and Eon’s new power plant. It tried to solve the dilemma by redirecting the protest into an arguing process by organizing a public governmental hearing which took place in July 2007. The hearing was framed as an aid to the government in making a decision: should there be a spatial planning procedure or not. Both the affected actors and some experts were invited to present their positions during the hearing. A decision by the government resulting from arguing in such a public setting was seen as a way to reach an answer to the problem which could be presented as rational. A short time after that hearing the prime minister announced the implementation of the requested spatial planning procedure. In September 2007 a second hearing took place in the Hessian parliament’s Committee for Environment and Consumer Protection. It was intended to support the knowledge base of the parliamentarians. The actions of the government in this step have a reactive character that proves the civil action group’s strategy from step 1 succeeded. Political decision makers became involved in the case and could therefore be called to account for its development by their voters which increased the pressure to act according to public opinion. Given the opportunity to present their arguments against the power plant, the protesters emphasized the damage the plant would do to the global climate and to ambient air quality and argued that there were feasible alternatives. This framing was illustrated with linguistic images like ‘Dinosauriertechnologie’ (dinosaur technology) that were applied to the planned installation to illustrate how obsolete it was. Eon also found itself in a rather reactive position drawing the opposite picture of the proposed plant. From this perspective the new power plant would be a positive contribution to climate protection by allowing for shorter running times of older and less efficient plants with higher emission rates of CO2 per produced kilowatt hour of electricity.
158 Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt Like the government Eon also reacted to the protest by trying to establish arguing based interactions in the local and regional action arena. Eon initiated a round table, the ‘Kraftwerksforum’, with participants such as the regional Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the local parties, the civil action group, representatives of the surrounding municipalities and counties as well as church parishes and nation-wide organized environmental groups like the BUND. The round table was organized and moderated by the consulting group IFOK (Institute for Organisational Communication) that specialized in mediation and conflict resolution. It was intended to allow for a deliberative process between the different positions on the possible expansion of the plant. Therefore the interests and positions of each participating actor had to be clarified and a common basis of information agreed on to be finally able to work out common solutions. Moreover, IFOK claimed that the forum would also ensure any agreed solutions would actually be realized. Finally, it was one of the forum’s objectives to inform the public about its work. This was particularly important as one of the ‘rulesin-use’ of the round table was that its meetings were not open to the public. This was intended to prevent any further politicization of the case. The civil action group viewed the Kraftwerksforum rather critically because its decision scope was limited by Eon. The enterprise was not willing to question the building of plants or their use of ‘black coal’. As with the governmental and parliamentary hearings the round table was a reaction to the pressure of the civil action group which had successfully influenced the action arena in which Eon’s plan was to be implemented by applying reflective knowledge. It is striking that both the hearings and the Kraftwerksforum were attempts to re-channel the bargaining power of the civil action group into arguing based communication. The inclusion of affected stakeholders into the decision making process would have, both from the perspective of Eon as well as from that of political decision makers, the advantage that whatever the final decision or output may be it could be presented as the best possible result of a process considering all available knowledge claims and arguments and therefore could claim additional legitimacy. This might reduce the expected loss of good reputation and/or voters’ support in case of a decision unfavourable to public opinion. Step 4 – Hierarchical decision making: Although the Hessian government made use of an extraordinary policy instrument – namely a ‘governmental hearing’ – to listen to the positions of the involved actors before making a decision, the decision itself clearly remained a hierarchical one. It was not directly deduced from the input given during the hearing. Instead, the decision was related to the general responsibilities of the government to resolve such political conflicts. This important role of the Hessian government is a more indirect consequence of the application of the civil action group’s reflective knowledge. By successfully getting political (instead of only administrative) decision makers involved they took responsibility for the issue and ultimately enforced a hierarchically intervention and political accountability. Therefore step 4 should also be considered as a consequence of the initial application of reflective knowledge in the early phase of this case but not as an instance of reflective knowledge itself.
How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg 159
8.4 Conclusions The case study is a good example of how reflective knowledge is developed and used in first order governing where a policy framed and decided at other levels (meta and second order governing) is implemented. The mobilization and use of reflective knowledge by the civil action group became visible in the group’s strong awareness of the elements structuring the context in which they acted. First, the group demonstrated awareness of the ‘attributes of the community’ that structured the filtering of what is perceived as relevant in the action arena. The group realized that it had to broaden the community and thereby change the filter in order to have a chance of achieving their target of preventing the power plant from being built. Without the activities of the civil action group and the influence it acquired by mobilizing and using reflective knowledge it is very likely that a standard administrative procedure resulting in the approval of Eon’s plans would have taken place. The civil action group realized this and engaged in preventive action to allow additional knowledge to enter the action arena. It built up a strong network of protest incorporating local citizens as well as local parties and representatives of the surrounding municipalities and other organizations by spreading different forms of knowledge among them. They made active use of the fact that the election of the Hessian parliament was impending and directly addressed the Hessian government. Under these conditions the government took the concerns and the related knowledge claims of the civil action group seriously and initiated processes for its further consideration. The filter had been opened up for the knowledge of the civil action group to enter the decision making process within the expanded action arena and possibly to be considered in the choice of action (that means, by the second filtering process of our model). As a result of the protest the purely bureaucratic-hierarchical initial process was changed to a still hierarchical but strongly politicized and more open process which, along with the formal rules accepted by the affected citizens, was also important for decision makers. In this politicized context the action group pushed the climate change topic as a dominant issue into the first filter regarding the ‘attributes of the physical world’. They moreover changed the ‘rules-in-use’ by framing the choices which should be politically appropriate. While Eon initially considered the implications of the EU ETS and expected an approval procedure according to the BimSchG, the civil action group brought an additional regulation into consideration. By insisting on possible contradictions of Eon’s plans with the existing regional plan for the area (which has to be taken as the basis for the initiated spatial planning procedure) they weakened the impact of the BImSchG which would have been very beneficial for Eon. In summary it can be argued that knowledge and in particular reflective knowledge, is crucial to explain how great expectations in Brussels are dashed in the ‘world of actions’. Taking this knowledge systematically into account – or considering how and why it can be strategically mobilized and used by actors at the level of first order governing – is necessary in order to achieve targeted implementation of policies. This clearly demonstrates that if concerns and motives, as well as
160 Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt knowledge relevant for implementing a policy, at this level are not taken seriously it is surprising that EU policies in general and EU environment programmes in particular work at all. Furthermore, the concerns and motives of actors at this level are essential in another respect, namely political self-determination as the core of democratic self-governing (cf. Heinelt 2010: 125–26). An understanding of democratic self-governing, whose essence is that ‘collective decision-making is to proceed deliberatively – by citizens advancing proposals and defending them with considerations that others, who are themselves free and equal, can acknowledge as reasons’ (Cohen and Sabel 1997: 327) – does not merely refer to the debate about assumptions over causality and standards of appropriateness (on the level of meta governing) but also to debates (political competition) on the institutional and policy-oriented arrangement of a political order (on the level of second order governing). Such an understanding of democratic self-determination extends also to the application of political decisions. Democratic self-governing, in the sense of self-determining the political order and through it an individual’s circumstances in life also entails that the application of democratically formed decisions cannot be understood just as a hierarchical form of implementation. Rather, in the course of applying political decisions, reasons for an appropriate implementation have to be substantiated, particularly since implementation always requires interpretation as well as decision-making because policy objectives are usually quite general and have to be adapted to specific contexts. Against this background, broad participation in implementing political decisions is reasonable in ‘instrumental’ terms to prevent implementation deficits or failure by taking account of the motives of policy addressees to ensure that they are willing to comply and by mobilizing their knowledge relevant for achieving the intended policy objectives. Taking concerns and motives of actors during implementation seriously is also sensible on normative grounds. In the case study, political decision makers on different levels only considered the market participants (in this case Eon) as affected actors on which the implementation’s success depended. However, the market participants’ decisions can affect citizens that are not included in the first order governing processes and hinder their capacity for effective self-governing. This problem becomes even more pressing, when the input-dimension of political legitimacy on the level of second order governing is rather weak as is frequently case with governing contexts beyond the nation state. The paragraphs on second order governing (and also on meta governing) show that political debate and decision making on the EU ETS took place in a context far from their impact on citizens. In our case the affected actors generated an action arena that they were able to shape in a bottom up process based on reflective knowledge. On the one hand this could be considered as a steering problem within the EU ETS as its efficiency and effectiveness are threatened, but on the other hand it can also be interpreted as an ex post possibility for these actors to make use of their democratic rights for self-governing. From this perspective reflective knowledge can be captured as a corrective for political
How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg 161 processes of second order governing lacking consideration of the interests and beliefs of those affected.
Notes 1 The authors would prefer the term ‘reflexive knowledge’ to capture a meaning focussed on an active as well as strategic context awareness and to avoid the retrospective and more passive connotation associated with the attribute ‘reflective’. Nevertheless, in the context of this volume, the authors adapt to the terminology of the GFORS project and use the term ‘reflective knowledge’. 2 Similar to the identification of different ‘governing orders’ Kiser and Ostrom (1982) refer to three ‘worlds of action’, where political choices of different characters are taken. Those are the ‘constitutional’, the ‘collective’ and the ‘operational choice level’. 3 Three aspects for characterising the ‘attributes of the community’ can be distinguished. First, the actors involved and their characteristics (individual versus ‘composite’ actors, collective versus corporate actors, see Scharpf 1997: 54) must be taken into account; second the dominant policy style of the community. A third relevant ‘attribute of the community’ is the prevalence of trust and shared norms. 4 The two filtering processes can be related to Elster’s two-filter model of ‘political choices’ (1979: 113; see also Windhoff-Hériter 1991: 38–9) that is modified by exchaning the institutionalist deterministic rational choice approach with the interpretive view on policy processes. 5 An ideal market is one without any transaction costs and with perfectly informed actors. 6 Framing refers to the introduction of specific patterns of interpretation and sense making of empirical observations. See Goffman 1974 on the concept as well as Daviter 2007 for a more recent consideration. 7 The introduction of emissions trading also affected the ‘Law on Protection from Emissions’ (Bundesimmissionsschutzgesetz, BImSchG). When the TEHG was formulated the legislators realized that it was in conflict with regulations of the existing BImSchG. While the former is intended to leave the distribution of emissions between the enterprises entirely to the market, the later prescribed threshold values for – among others – CO2 emissions that were not allowed to be exceeded. The ability to comply with them was also a precondition for the permission of new power plants etc. Acknowledging a tension between both laws that might endanger the efficiency of emissions trading and flexibility the national legislator decided to take CO2 out of the control of the BImSchG. 8 The over allocation and the ‘grandfathering’ mode of allocation were the main criticisms of German emissions trading in the first period. Germany thereafter rather radically changed its policy style for the NAP II phase by introducing an auction for a high rate of its emissions rights and by adopting an NAP that allocates 29 million tons of emissions rights less than the European Commission had demanded. See Brunner (2008) for a discussion of the reasons for this policy shift. 9 The case study is based on interviews with key actors, an analysis of the case’s coverage within the national newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” and of the regional newspaper “Offenbacher Post”, as well as the analysis of official documents such as verbatim protocols of the governmental and parliamentary hearings that took place and written statements that were made by stakeholders and by consulted experts in the forefront of the hearings.
162 Sonja Löber and Hubert Heinelt
References Agrawala, S. (1998a) ‘Context and Origins of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’, Climatic Change, 39: 605–20. —— (1998b) ‘Structural and Process History of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’, Climate Change, 39: 621–42. Bennett, A. and Elman, C. (2006) ‘Qualitative Research: Recent Developments in Case Study Methods’, in Annual Review of Political Science, 9: 455–76. Brunner, S. (2008) ‘Understanding policy change: Multiple streams and emissions trading in Germany’. Global Environmental Change, 18(3): 501–7. Cohen, J. and Sabel, C. F. (1997) ‘Directly-deliberative Polyarchy’, European Law Journal, 3(4): 313–42. Daviter, F. (2007) ‘Policy Framing in the European Union’, Journal of European Public Policy, 14(4): 654–66. Elster, J. (1979) Ulysses and the Sirens, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Goffman, E. (1974) Frame Analysis, Harvard University Press: New York. Heinelt, H. (2010) Governing Modern Societies: Towards Participatory Governance, Routledge: London/New York. IPCC (1995) Second Assessment Report: Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses, Geneva. URL: http://www. ipcc.ch/pdf/climate-changes-1995/spm-scientific-technical-analysis.pdf Jordan, A. (1999) ‘The Implementation of EU environmental Policy: A Problem Without a Political Solution?’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 17(1): 69–90. Kiser, L. Ostrom, E. (1982) The Three Worlds of Action, in: Ostrom, Elinor (eds): Strategies of Political Inquiry, Sage: Beverly Hills. Knill, C. and Liefferink, D. (2007) Environment Politics in the European Union, ManManchester University Press: Manchester. Kooiman, J. (2000) ‘Societal Governance’, in: Pierre, J. (ed.) Debating Governance. Authority, Steering, and Democracy. Oxford University Press: Oxford. —— (2002) ‘Governance. A Social-Political Perspective’, in Grote, J. R. and Gbikpi, B. (eds) 2002: Participatory Governance. Political and Societal Implications, Leske & Budrich: Opladen —— (2003) Governing as Governance, Sage:London. Mayntz, R. (1987) ‚Politische Steuerung und gesellschaftliche Steuerungsprobleme – Anmerkungen zu einem steuerungstheoretischen Paradigma’, in Jahrbuch zur Staats-und Verwaltungswissenschaft 1: 89–110. Nullmeier, F. (1993) ‚Wissen und Policy-Forschung. Wissenspolitologie und rhetorischdialektisches Handlungsmodell’ in Héritier, A. (ed.) Policy-Analyse. Kritik und Neuorientierung, Westdeutscher Verlag: Oplade. Ostrom, E. (1999) ‘Institutional Rational Choice: An Assessment of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework’, in Sabatier, P. A. (ed.) Theories of the Policy Process, Westview Press: Boulder. Ostrom, E., Gardner, R. and Walker, J. (1994) Rules, Games and Common-Pool Resources, University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbour. Pressman, J. L. and Wildavsky, A. (1973) Implementation. How Great Expectations in Washington are Dashed in Oakland. Or, Why its’s Amazing that Federal Programs Work at All, University California Press: Berkley.
How great expectations in Brussels are dashed in Großkrotzenburg 163 Scharpf, F. W. (1997) Games Real Actors Play. Actor-centered Institutionalism in Policy Research, Westview Press: Boulder. Schröder, H. (2001) Negotiating the Kyoto Protocol: An analysis of negotiation dynamics in international negotiations, LIT Verlag: Münster. Windhoff-Héritier, A. (1991) ‘Institutions, Interests, and Political Choice’, in Czada, R. and Windhoff-Héritier, A. (eds) Political Choice. Institutions, Rules and the Limits of Rationality, Campus: Frankfurt am Main.
9 Governance, knowledge and policy networks in Strategic Environmental Assessment Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen 9.1 Introduction In this chapter we consider the role of policy networks within the wider context of the GFORS theoretical framework and research project. The policy networks approach provides a method that can allow us to understand how the relationships between various participants (both individuals and organizations) develop and operate within action arenas and impact upon decision making processes and outcomes. However, as there is not a single ‘policy networks approach’ we will first of all discuss different definitions of policy networks and their limitations before going on to use our particular approach to analyse the case study material. First of all we will briefly remind readers of the key elements of the GFORS Conceptual Framework (which are discussed at greater length in Chapters 1 and 3). In this framework a governance arrangement refers to an action arena in which actors in a particular action situation interact in a certain way, i.e. they exercise certain patterns of interaction leading to specific outcomes. However, actors in an action arena do not interact freely. They have to take into account ‘(i) given attributes of the physical world, (ii) attributes of the community/communities surrounding them and (iii) rules-in-use structuring their interactions’ (Heinelt et al.: 22). The second dimension suggests a combination of the (institutionalist) governance perspective to action-oriented/actor-centred approaches since it is about attributes that explain actors behaviour and the way actors interact (ibid.: 30). A network analysis approach may be able to provide some insight into the formal and informal rule systems that shape the way actors in an action arena interact; importantly this approach may also lend itself to the coupling of institutional theory with an actororientated approach. While actors are governed/regulated by the wider institutional context, networks by their very nature are also constructed by the modes of interaction that develop between actors themselves i.e. actors within the network have the opportunity to alter the ‘rules of the game’ (Klijn and Koppenjan 2000; Marks 1997).The policy network approach may also be applied to encompass the analysis of knowledge transfer based on the notion of actors as holders of knowledge. This analysis can therefore offer useful insights into the complex interplay that takes place within context specific governance arrangements, because it can help us to understand the relationship structures which underlie and shape the decision making processes and their outcome(s).
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9.2 A brief overview of the basic definition of policy networks While the definition and conceptualisation of a ‘policy network’ remains the source of some debate, networks are often characterised by the predominance of decentralised, horizontal arrangements where decision making functions are distributed across an array of public, private and civil sector actors. The definition of policy networks in policy analysis developed on a twofold track: theoretical reflections about shifts in governance forms (from formal, hierarchical, public administration-based to informal, open, and horizontal arrangements) on the one side, and a quest for analytical tools and methodologies on the other side. We do not propose to go into much depth regarding the first dimension, because there is already an extensive literature that provides a thorough understanding of it (e.g. Mayntz and Marin 1991; Rhodes 1996; Pierre and Peters 2000; Grote and Gbikpi 2002; Hajer and Wagenaar 2003; Kooiman 2003). We will seek to more precisely discuss a small range of possible analytical functions that the concept of policy network can play in the analysis and interpretation of complex governance arrangements and in linking such arrangements with policy outputs/outcomes (Börzel 1998), highlighting at the same time some limits of this approach. Moreover, we will try to interpret some of the main research questions/issues arising from the GFORS framework in the light of policy networks analysis, and we will illustrate the use of this analytical tool in empirical case studies from the same research. Schneider describes network analysis as ‘the study of ‘the structural relationships, interdependencies and dynamics between actors in policy making” (Schneider 1988: 2, quoted in Börzel 1997: 4). This definition can be developed further for analytical purposes. Following Marin and Mayntz network analysis includes the broad array of methodological tools for the analysis of relational configurations and structures, consequently a policy network (Marin and Mayntz 1991: 41) can be described by: •
its actors (individual or collective . . .) ‘This is a distinguishing characteristic of most recent policy networks research: policy networks do not refer any longer to “networking” of individual personalities, to group collusions, to the interlocking of cliques, elites, party or class factions, as in older traditions, but to the collective action of organised, corporate actors, and consequently to interorganisational relations in public policy making’ (ibid: 14). Actors are characterised by their specific capabilities (resources that allow an actor to influence a specific outcome e.g. competencies, rights of participation, veto, autonomous decision), perceptions (action orientation – stable but may be changed through learning) and preferences (Scharpf 1997). their linkages (density, one way/two ways, etc.), communication channels for the exchange of information, expertise, trust and other policy resources its boundary (complexity, action arena/sub-arenas), both in terms of number of actors involved and in terms of relationships with the larger policy context/ domain, in particular with regard to the wider institutional framework
166 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen Finally, a considerable amount of the policy network literature has focused on to what extent they could respond to the need for more coordination in a world characterized by problems of growing fragmentation (and the effects this has created in terms of effectiveness of public policies) (Kooiman 1993). In other words policy networks have been regarded as possible answers to problems of coordination. This characterisation could be somewhat misleading in an overly narrow application, especially if one aims to utilise it in a research framework concerned with the complexity of learning exchanges (where reflective knowledge is a possible outcome of different forms of governance).
9.3 Policy network analysis: limits and potential in a knowledge-based perspective ‘As Marsh and Rhodes admit, the policy network approach is more a research tool than a theory’ (John 2001: 144, citing Marsh, 1998 and Rhodes and Marsh 1992). As such its use has been proposed in the previous paragraphs to avoid some risks connected with policy network theory. In fact policy network theory has been recently criticised for seeking to go beyond being a descriptive tool and attempting to define causal relations able to explain social facts – as for example, the outcomes of policies. If we move from the field of metaphors to that of models of policy scholars such as Thatcher and John, from different perspectives, have shown that, on the one hand, ‘there is no one single policy network approach in public policy’ (Thatcher 1998: 390), while on the other, the process of diversification of policy network approaches attempting to respond to some of these recurrent criticisms, has lead them to link ‘policy network frameworks to other analytical approaches (for instance institutions, ideas, policy learning)’ (ibid.: 406). However, within both perspectives this generates confusion, in so far as this process of differentiation is anticipating (without dealing with) the need to respond to some general questions which can be raised concerning the descriptive use of policy network analysis. 9.3.1 Policies as learning processes/policies as institutive devices Policy networks do not necessarily produce shared interpretations and visions of problems. On the contrary, a dense policy network can produce conflicting interpretations of the problem, leading to clashes and disagreement rather than coordination. However, it may be that conflict, by stimulating a process of self-critical reflection on the part of participants, leads to the production of reflective knowledge. Nor can we assume that a dense network, simply because it involves many interactions between participants, will necessarily result in the production of knowledge: participants in a network are not necessarily committed to learn or produce knowledge. It may rather result as an unexpected outcome. If we conceive of policies as being, at least in part, learning processes, a policy network approach should also investigate what is exchanged in networks (i.e. in terms of the nature, quantity and quality of knowledge). If in fact density is just a matter of actors being part of an arena and interacting with others, this is not necessarily an exhaustive indicator of the
Governance, knowledge and policy networks 167 production of (reflective) knowledge. Given this how is it possible to map learning interactions? The variable ‘knowledge’ needs to be taken into account, along with the governance mode the policy networks deal with. Thus it is useful to map the relations within networks that foster the construction of knowledge. For example, could policy network mapping represent and measure the interactions of actors in the definition of the problem which may then create the basis for the constitution of a policy network? Could the researcher map policy networks in terms of actors sharing/producing different definitions of the problem? This would also allow us to avoid representing the policy network as a simple outcome of the institutionalization of a policy, but rather as a space of conflict between different framing processes and socio-political constructs, thus potentially promoting conflict between the arenas interacting with the treatment/definition of the problem at large. Could this also reduce the risk of representing an actor as central just because it is the one institutionally in charge for treatment of a problem and open to approaches able to represent the multi-centred nature of policy networks? (Heclo 1978). 9.3.2 The autonomy of policy domains—the autonomy of policies Based on the above we could also reflect on the nature of (public) policy domains. As Le Galès (2001) points out policy network studies have remained too attached to a predefined definition of policy domains as corresponding to the progressive construction of the autonomy of policy fields in the twentieth century, whereas we are now experiencing the reduction of autonomy of policy domains not only in connection with the thinking about governance (Mayntz in Kooiman 1993: 12) but also with reference to the plea for policy integration necessary to deal with complex problems. Thus he concludes: ‘The classic problem of policy network delimitation is reinforced because the subsystems or the domains are unstable . . .’ (Le Galès 2001: 170). Coupling networks with (public) policies emphasises the growing difficulty of defining a clear boundary, when policy fields increasingly intersect with one another. This is even more so the case if the study of policy networks aspires to explain policy outcomes. The consequence is that ‘At the very least, it becomes highly risky to try to explain policy outcomes through the study of only one or two policy networks’ (Le Galès 2001: 182). While this is generally true it may be particularly relevant for policies addressing sustainability. These are policies, which, constitutively speaking, exist on the borders (or interstices) between policies, and it is precisely these borders that need to be crossed in order to overcome the autonomy of policies and to solve problems of both efficacy and legitimacy. Thus it is necessary to explore the nature of the border(s) (multiple ones: internal and external lines of confrontation among policies) as spaces of exchange of knowledge along with, and in relation to, changing forms of governance. 9.3.3 The autonomy of actors—the autonomy of the network A third perspective refers to the issue of agency itself. In addition to the autonomy and nature of policies being unclear, actors and their relations are also increasingly
168 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen unstable and fluid: ‘The focus on one policy domain and one policy network tends to emphasize the autonomy and the internal logic of the network, for instance the conflicts between coalitions or the exchange within the network, how various actors stick together’ (Le Galès 2001: 170). Hence what policy network analysis risks doing is describing a group of actors captured in an isolated moment which, by its very nature, is unable to capture and portray the multiple engagements that, in reality, each single actor is part of. Whereas actors are constituted as such in different policy domains (ibid: 171) as shown by the idea of super network, (explored by Smith 1995), and of ‘transversal actors’ networks cutting across vertical and horizontal networks (Smith, in Le Galès 2001: 171). How can policy networks theory deal with these positions? We consider it of great importance to look at actors and actor networks not as isolated entities, in time and space. Our view is that policy networks should be considered as the situation d’epreuve, bearing in mind that actors (and problems and discourses) are constituted as such within the policy, while at the same time agency operates and is constituted in a range of different arenas and situations. At the same time we should also focus on the process of the redefinition that an issue undergoes within the policy process. By this we mean the reframing of the situation through argumentation. Thus the discursive dimension could become a focus of a policy network approach. And since ‘. . . change calls for analysis; in particular, there are issues of how and why networks are transformed, and the ways in which the actors’ own understandings affect and alter their networks relationship’ (Thatcher 1998: 404), this should encourage us to produce different (in time–space) policy networks maps. Here it may also be helpful to compare the policy network reconstructed by the researcher with those described by the actors themselves. This could also be a way of dealing with another central issue in the criticism of policy network theory – the need to explain change. We contend that they could be of some help in describing change (John 2001: 145). Mapping networks as fixed images runs the risk of producing static representations of the relationships among actors. Moreover, it excludes from consideration actors who do not participate in policy-making (Thatcher 1998: 401) or in decision making and thus the role of non-decisions is not explored (Thatcher 1998: 402).
9.4 Testing the use of policy network analysis in SEA case studies In the practical implementation of our case study research within the GFORS framework, the policy network paradigm has been used in a dual manner: as an implicit theoretical background/assumption and with concern for the concrete study of: • • •
which are the arenas (network complexity and boundary definition) knowledge transfer and exchange (network density, characterisation of linkages) second order governing or institution building (overall network configuration, centrality, etc.).
The first point is directed towards answering the question: in which action arena does the SEA process take place? It is clear that SEA processes are strictly interlinked
Governance, knowledge and policy networks 169 to plan making processes, but in the light of the GFORS framework we should be able to precisely define the action arena we are describing/analysing. Moreover, in order to be able to implement the IAD framework analysis (Ostrom 1999) we should again be able to precisely define our unit of analysis. The potential of SEA to contribute towards sustainability and governance objectives may be facilitated or constrained by the broader institutional context and the rules that determine actors’ roles, resources and exchanges within this context. This discussion can be linked to policy learning processes from an institutional perspective by determining how SEA may influence ‘working structures’ or institutional capacity. Cashmore et al (2007) suggest that one of the most important outcomes of environmental assessment is its contribution to institutional and organisational reform. In research by the same authors, case study analysis indicated that SEA could change the formation and dynamics of networks in a variety of ways via the establishment of working groups, via more passive forms of loose alliances of individuals who share information and expertise and via the development of networks for commercial reasons (Cashmore et al. 2007).1 In this section we will give some examples emerging from the empirical analysis of case studies from three different countries: the SEA of the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West of England in the UK, the SEA of the Master Plan of the Province of Milan in Italy and the planning process with SEA for the new Molde hospital in Norway.2 While the observations that we propose are very specific, we think that the practical use of policy network analysis provides us with some useful insights. 9.4.1 Analysis of results UK The UK case study deals with the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West of England (2006–26). In this case, the plan making process and SEA were subject to separate analytical treatment as the SEA was carried out by a team of three consultancy firms, with an independent working group formed to scrutinise the SEA work. While these two processes do not operate in isolation (there was regular communication between both the officers and members of the Regional Assembly and the consultants) the two arenas are distinguished due to the consultants’ role as an intermediary, the narrower range of actors involved and the fact that the consultation phase for the SEA occurred at a much later stage than consultation for the planning process as a whole. Arenas: network complexity and boundary definition The planning arena: The start of the process was characterised by the relationship between national and regional government, but the distribution of powers was asymmetric. As the processes progressed, the network configuration expanded and wider stakeholders were invited to provide inputs into the types of issues that might be relevant to the South West. Some have a right to be consulted under existing planning regulations whereas others (more typically local interest groups) attended
170 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen consultation events on the various options proposed by the Regional Assembly (see Figure 9.2). This strategy was relatively inclusive, but more orientated towards consultation rather than effective participation in a stricter (network) sense. Towards the end of the process the network configuration narrowed again, characteristic of a more hierarchical arrangement. While the Regional Assembly prepared the draft plan, the Secretary of State had the final say on what was included in the final plan, key decisions concerning transport and housing were also decided at this level. The government office and planning inspectorate also played an important role because they selected matters and participants at the Examination in Public and weighed up different opinions in providing recommendations to the Secretary of State. The complexity of the network for both arenas is 16/20.
Strategic Health Authority
DfT (Highways) and Rail Authority
Department of Communities and Local Government (Minister) Government Office
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SEA Arena: Initially the sub-arena of the SEA process included the expert consultants and members of the SEA scrutiny group (including planning officers from local authorities, regional policy advisors from government and sustainability advisors from the environmental authorities), and was therefore characterised by individuals with a high degree of specialist or procedural (technical and institutional) knowledge. The consultants provided the main structural link between the SEA and planning arenas; they provided feedback from scrutiny group to the
Business, construction, industry groups Sustainability, countryside and nature groups Social groups (unions, voluntary, passengers, education, care, minorities)
SUPRALOCAL ACTORS LOCAL ACTORS
Figure 9.1 Agenda setting/institutional arrangement 2004 (UK) (based on those actors which are members of the Regional Assembly (where voting rights are assigned as 70% local authority members and 30% social, environmental and economic groups) and organisations charged with statutory planning responsibilities at the national/regional level).
Strategic Health Authority
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Figure 9.2 Draft plan production 2004–March 2006 (UK) (based on those with a role in constructing the plan, or those which have been consulted during the drafting of the plan). Black font indicates those which must be consulted under existing legislation (‘specific consultation bodies’). Grey font indicates those which attend consultation events at the ‘options/alternatives stage’.
Regional Assembly and maintained ongoing dialogue with officers and members. Following the production of the draft plan and Environmental Report, there was a short session on the SEA at the Examination in Public. At this stage the network expanded to include organisations such as the NGOs and housing developers, but there was still limited involvement in the SEA at the sub regional level. However, the Examination in Public did at least provide an opportunity to express different arguments; thereby increasing the potential for knowledge exchange. Interestingly, we observed how members of the public, residents and community groups started to engage with the SEA at the very end of the process when the draft plan had been submitted to central government for final approval and amendments. This attracted a high number of written representations (of which 284 refer to the SEA). One factor that might explain this is a level of public dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the Proposed Changes (e.g. higher housing numbers and an un-phased approach to urban extensions on the green belt), where the SEA was used selectively to readdress local, opposing interests.
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172 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen
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Agriculture and Rural Enterprise Environmental campaigning NGOs SUPRALOCAL ACTORS LOCAL ACTORS
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Figure 9.3 Consultation on the draft plan March 2006–July 2007 (UK) (based on those that have a role in selecting matters and participants at the Examination in Public, and those actors invited to give representations).
Knowledge transfer and exchange: network density, characterisation of linkages The density of the network for the planning arena is 0.49 and for the SEA arena 0.68. Both represent high degrees of density, particularly the latter. The regional tier is characterised by players that move in ‘regional networking circles’; it was not uncommon to see the same faces on different steering committees. The SEA density value reflects the high number of linkages between actors. For instance, while the NGOs did not have a formal role in the production of the environmental report (and are not observable until the consultation phase), many of them exhibited ties with the environmental authorities, consultants or members of the regional assembly, indicating one possible route for knowledge exchange.3 This was supported by the use of similar statements by a coalition of actors from the environmental sector at the Examination in Public. These ‘knowledge networks’ may therefore be important in coordinating collective action and the use of SEA as a political resource. The creation of the SEA working group also provided opportunities for dialogue on sustainability related issues, but within a restricted (expert) arena that excludes actors at the local level. This sub-group also operates on the periphery of the policy process.
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Figure 9.4 Proposed changes to the final plan July 2007–9 (UK) (based on those with specific responsibilities for compiling the proposed changes for the final plan. Those with dotted lines represent actors who submitted comments on the proposed changes).
Institution building and second order governing: overall network configuration and centrality The Regional Assembly took forward a number of the consultant’s recommendations in the draft plan, but their decision making powers are limited. As such, the interaction between the Regional Assembly and Secretary of State is an important one, and knowledge accumulated through regional negotiations and consultation may be filtered out at this stage. As with the Norwegian case (see below), other considerations can have a more ‘decisive’ impact. A good example of this was how the SEA study on carbon emissions, and possible policy interventions, was taken forward by the Regional Assembly in the draft plan by proposing a regional standard on sustainable construction and regional renewable energy targets. These policies were later removed or significantly modified in the Proposed Changes issued by central government. This can be interpreted in the context of the structural configuration of actors involved at different stages of the planning process, and the hierarchy of power relations at the agenda setting and final approval stages.
Business, construction, industry groups Regional environmental groups
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174 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen
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Developers 100% 75% 50% 25%
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Figure 9.5 Network analysis: planning arena (UK)
9.4.2 Analysis of results, Italy The Milan case deals with the analysis of the interplay between governance arrangements and knowledge forms in the implementation of the SEA of the Province Master Plan. In the Milan case it seems very clear that the SEA process should be considered, studied and analysed together with the Master Plan process itself. The action arena is in fact the same, so are the main/central actors and the major knowledge flows. In terms of action arena, we were able to define it as a unitary arena after we mapped out the underlying policy network; in both processes, in fact the Provincial Government and the Provincial Planning Department played a central and leading role, because they designed the process at the very beginning (within the rules and procedural requests set by Regional Planning Law 12/05), and they were able to define the most important rules that enabled (or not) all other actors to participate. Indeed in terms of stakeholder involvement the SEA public participation processes through the Forum was also the channel for participation in the Plan making process. Arenas: network complexity and boundary definition In the course of the Plan revision /SEA process several arenas were created by the Province, with different weights and aims:
Government Environmental Agencies
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Governance, knowledge and policy networks 175
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Figure 9.6 Institutional arrangements for the SEA February 2004 (UK) (based on those actors with formal and legal responsibilities for the execution and review of SEA in the context of spatial plans).
1 the first type is articulated in at least three different arenas: a b c
public participation (Forum), inter institutional roundtables, SEA working groups with external consultants.
They are based on arguing, with knowledge exchange and creation, but their effectiveness in shaping the plan is questionable.
2 the second type is the bilateral interaction with municipalities, it is based on bargaining and it became an effective place in which to deal with some policy decisions with direct effects on the plan. Knowledge transfer and exchange: network density, characterisation of linkages The overall policy network of the planning process and SEA had a very low degree of density (0.19), which means that the possibility of building linkages and coalitions for the exchange of resources (be they economic, political or cognitive ones, like the different knowledge forms) is underexploited. This is the consequence of a significant fragmentation of the process that took place in a number of semiindependent sub-arenas, which led to a significant degree of centrality in the process for the Province. In fact the Province had direct contacts and interactions during the different phases of the decision making process with a number of different actors, institutional (municipalities, regional government, regional parks) or not.
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176 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen
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Figure 9.7 Scoping (February–September 2004) and preparation of environmental report June 2004–March 2006 (UK) (based on those actors listed as involved in the scoping of the SEA and preparation of the environmental report. Housing developers have been included as a dashed line due to their role in commissioning an additional SEA report on higher housing numbers).
The very low level of density, coupled with the centrality of the role of the Province (both at the political and technical levels), does not suggest extensive knowledge transfer between different actors and the possible creation of new knowledge and learning throughout the different phases of the process. In particular, a large part of the knowledge input for the process was produced by the Province Planning Department and by their consultants and technical experts. Modes of interaction As we have seen, the most important actors in the process were the Province of Milan and the municipalities. A powerful debate between the two levels of governance characterised the process, because the relevant decisions concerning the management of the territory arose from their interaction. Apart from the Municipalities, the framework gave formal access to other stakeholders, but the resulting process seemed more a consultation process on strategic objectives, aimed at informing and building general consensus within the community, rather than an effective form of participation in the policy making process. In fact, the most important and significant decisions (e.g. agricultural areas boundaries, infrastructures) were taken by means of specific bargaining activities with municipalities and other key actors.
Countryside, Environmental and Historic Agencies English partnerships (national regeneration) Regional Planning Body
National Park Authority
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Regional Sustainability body Home Builders Federation Countryside and Wildlife Groups Environmental NGOs Rural Affairs and Development Forum SUPRALOCAL ACTORS LOCAL ACTORS
Figure 9.8 Representations at the examination in public on the SEA April–July 2007 (UK) (based on those that made representations at the Examination in Public on matters relating to the sustainability appraisal).
In the end, the analysis suggests that there was strong hierarchical influence in the plan-making process, apart from the rhetoric of a planning process based on public participation. The presence of a hierarchical mode of interaction can also be found in the low degree of openness of the plan toward some of the actors to whom the formal model attributes an important role in the process. In the end, while the Province marginally took into account the results of the public participation process and partially included the results of the SEA consultants’ work, it was forced to consider the requests of other organised actors: firstly the Municipalities, but also Regional Parks and agriculture associations. Institution building and second order governing: overall network configuration and centrality From the network analysis exercise here described, which is of course just one step in the overall analytical path within the GFORS framework, it is possible to track some features of the overall institutional setting, that was established for the Master Plan SEA, but that will probably persist longer than the SEA in itself. Looking at the decision making process over the relevant period, it is possible to recognise different
Countryside, Environmental and Historic Agencies
Regional Development Agency
Regional Planning Body
National Park Authority
Department of Communities and Local Government (Minister)
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178 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen
Regional Sustainability body Home Builders Federation Countryside and Wildlife Groups Environmental NGOs Rural Affairs and Development Forum
SUPRALOCAL ACTORS LOCAL ACTORS
General public/ residents Community/ interest groups
Figure 9.9 SEA review as part of proposed changes 2008–9 (UK) (based on those with a responsibility to review the SSA in issuing proposed changes. Boxes shown with a dotted line represent those that made comments on any part of the SSA or referred to the SSA in their responses).
actor networks that underlay the plan making, starting from the 2003 plan (see Figure 9.12) through to the creation of the institutional setting for the Plan adaptation in 2006 (Figure 9.13) and then on to the plan making phase (Figure 9.10). 9.4.3 Analysis of results, Norway The Norwegian SEA case study concerns the planning process with a SEA for Molde’s new hospital. A small town located on the north-western coast of southern Norway, Molde’s existing hospital was deteriorating and the Regional Health Authority for Central Norway decided to initiate planning for a new hospital, and asked Molde to provide an appropriate site. Molde implemented an SEA process involving an assessment of four optional locations. Arenas: network complexity and boundary definition The planning and SEA arenas are hierarchical in the sense that the municipality is formally in charge. In principal the processes involved all interested and concerned parties, but of course their representation varied according to how central they were
Region Lombardia Planning and Agriculture Depts.
Province Commissioner for Planning
LA Permanent Conference
Technical Experts and Consultants
Province Planning Dept .
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Other economic interests Agriculture Associations
11 Municipal Roundtables SUPRALOCAL ACTORS LOCAL ACTORS
City of Milan Local/community organisations
Figure 9.10 Actors in the Master plan adaptation process 2006 (Italy)
and how much authority they had. The aim of participation of all actors was to influence the municipality to take into consideration their concerns. Most parties were left to hope that their case would be considered by the planning office of the municipality, although the option for legal support seemed to be open for land owners. However, the formal framework clearly stated that the inputs submitted by all interested parties were to be given serious consideration. Within the rules governing SEA this has to be accounted for. This weakens the hierarchy and introduces elements of an arguing network. This leaves us with some complexity, although there are limitats to this. We were able to identify actors at least on a local and regional level, including regional central government (national) actors. The total complexity between them was 12/20. Figure 9.14 shows the representation of actors involved in the case studied, sometimes just as categories. Knowledge transfer and exchange: network density, characterisation of linkages The knowledge transfer that occurred between actors in order to prepare the specific proposals, be they approval of the SEA-report or adoption of the planning proposal, establish two main mechanisms. The first was the transfer of knowledge from the planning office to all others through the preparation of the documents that expressed its views on the issue. The second main mechanism was when the
Technical Experts and Consultants
LA Permanent Conference Municipal Roundtables
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180 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen
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Agriculture Associations Province Commissioner for Planning
Province Planning Department
Other economic interests Environmental NGOs Third sector associations
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100% 75% 50% 25%
City of Milan 188 Municipalities
Figure 9.11 Network of relations centred on the Province Planning Department (Italy)
other actors expressed their views on the issue as it was presented in the prepared documents. Through this last process we were also able to identify filtering of knowledge as certain contributions are included and others not. In the Molde case, linkages between actors were to a large extent oriented around these mechanisms, with actors expressing their views to the planning office without consulting each other. But, the network also had its informal side. Many exchanges take place outside the formal stages of the process. These are more difficult to make account of, but we accessed the whole archive of the municipality and also asked all our respondents about their interrelations. When combined this gives us a policy network of the planning process and SEA that shows a very low level of density (0.067). The links that carried the most relations were those between the planning office of the municipality, the developer and the consultant. They maintained ongoing communication throughout the process. Figure 9.15 shows the level of intensity between actors in the network. The thicker the link is the more intense the relation is measured by the number of contacts we registered or were able to deduce. For categories of actors, the average number of contacts per actor is used. The direction of the arrows indicates who is primarily addressing whom. A missing arrow indicates communication by one to the other.
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Technical Experts and Consultants
Private and sectoral bodies (ANAS, FS) Social and economic actors?
Province of Milan Planning Dept.
SUPRALOCAL ACTORS LOCAL ACTORS
12 Municipal Roundtables
Figure 9.12 Actors in the Master Plan 2003 process (Italy)
The role of network exchange in decision making The network analysis confirms what the institutional arrangements suggest, that the planning office is in a position of supporting the developer and also considering local community needs in relation to the land use issue. Into this environment was inserted not only the formal process introduced by the SEA but also local considerations that led to activities and opinions emerging independently of the formalised processes. This resulted in a considerable degree of press coverage and some local associations, land owners and interested individuals expressing their opinions in writing at a time of their own choice rather than strictly in accordance with the development of the SEA process. Such initiatives are included in our analysis. However, the network analysis gives an inaccurate impression of what were the most crucial exchanges in the decision making process. This is because the process, as it was formally constituted, did not reflect the power politics associated with the issue. Planning and SEA are organised to produce carefully developed descriptions of options and their impacts. But such processes can sometimes only reflect a small part of what motivates central actors. In this case, an agreement on the location of the hospital between the mayors of Molde and Kristiansund, based on considerations other than the results of planning and SEA, was decisive for what the planning office ultimately proposed. In reality the ‘deal’ between the two
Region Lombardia Planning Dept .
ARPA Milan Technical Experts and Consultants
Province Commissioner for Planning
LA Permanent Conference
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182 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen
Province Planning Dept.
11 Municipal Roundtables
SUPRALOCAL ACTORS LOCAL ACTORS
City of Milan
Figure 9.13 Master plan 2006: institutional setting phase (Italy)
mayors proved decisive in determining the ultimate outcome of the process; in effect they by-passed (or usurped) the formal process. The main conclusion to be drawn is that that while networks were quite influential in shaping the documents that described the planning options and their impacts, and in raising reflections from the planning office over possibilities in these areas, the hierarchical governance mode in place displaced the results of this process with regard to the decision over the location of the hospital.
9.5 Concluding remarks from the case studies Based on the case studies it is possible to draw some conclusions ranging from the general to the specific about the use of network analysis. One conclusion relates to the extent to which, if at all, the network metaphor provided an appropriate means to achieve our research objectives. The policy network literature proposes different meanings and uses for this metaphor. It can be seen as a descriptive, analytical tool, and in this sense it can provide suggestions to the researcher for the definition of the boundaries of a decision making arena and show quite effectively the nature of interactions among different actors within such arenas (some important conceptual drawbacks of this use are discussed in this chapter). On the other hand, it can have normative implications. This second approach emphasises the possible role networks can play in the shift from government to governance, freeing actors from the constraints of hierarchy, but at the same time responding to a need for coordination, but it seems here to be less relevant for our purposes.
Cultural Heritage Agency The county Highways Agency
Other municipalities Ministry of Health Parliament representatives
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The Regional Health Authority (developer) SUPRALOCAL ACTORS
Consultants The Planning Office of Molde
Interested parties/general public
Residents Local authorities
Figure 9.14 Actor mapping for SEA and planning (Norway)
Secondly, we need to reflect on the use of policy network analysis within the GFORS framework. Analysing our case studies and comparing them with the theoretical background we can underline one important aspect. We recalled at the beginning of this chapter the peculiar mix of institutionalism and actor-centred approach that characterises the GORS research framework; from this point of view the possibility of operationally defining and understanding the networks of relationships in specific, institutionally defined contexts can be seen as a bridge between the individual decisions of each actor and the structuring mechanisms implied by the various rules-in-use. Thirdly, there is an apparent contradiction between our use of the notion of network and the actual governance mode prevalent in each case study. By this we mean that while we attempted to use network analysis to understand the three cases of SEA implementation we argued that the governance arrangements were more hierarchical than network based in nature. However, this last point can be resolved quite quickly as the contradiction is more apparent than real because, as we mentioned, we used the network metaphor to explain the relationships between actors in policy contexts in a neutral manner that did not presuppose the presence or dominance of any particular governance mode(s). It is important to emphasise once more that in its basic form network analysis includes a broad array of methodological tools for the analysis of relational configurations and structures that can be used to help understand any particular set of governance arrangements.
Other municipalities Cultural Heritage Agency The county Highways Agency
Ministry of Health Parliament representatives
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184 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen
The Regional Health Authority (developer) SUPRALOCAL ACTORS
Consultants The Planning Office of Molde
Interested parties/general public
Residents Local authorities
Figure 9.15 Intensity of actor linking in SEA and planning (Norway)
In general what we would argue is the need to further develop the policy networks approach in order to overcome the drawbacks and limits we have pointed to and explore the issues we have sought to sketch out. In our view the policy network approach should develop a four-dimensional field of description. First of all this requires the introduction of other theoretical approaches in order to address some of the conceptual problems we have discussed. It also requires us to adopt a non-Euclidean perspective that is able to consider public problems as they are constituted/constructed in different spaces and times within processes that mobilise different actors on the basis of contingent and simultaneous forms of, and reasons for, engagement. Such an approach will, potentially, allow us to consider how issues are ‘produced’ in terms of different definitions of and forms of public action. Moreover, it allows us to recognise that actors are not unitary subjects defined in a once and for all manner; we need to consider their constitution, and reconstitution, as being variable and changing in relation to the problems they choose to coordinate on or to enter into conflict over, in relation to their changing alliances over time (Crosta 2007).
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Notes 1 The application of a network analysis approach to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) cases is also particularly interesting given the implicit emphasis on ‘early and effective’ participation within the SEA Directive. Within a policy network, interdependent actors seek to define and solve policy problems by drawing on a range of expertise and other specialised and dispersed policy resources. Moreover, actors within these policy networks conduct themselves strategically through a series of games in the policy process. Policy networks analysis may be used for the identification and reconstruction of patterns of interaction between actors in the formation and implementation of a policy, e.g. to identify aggregate or collective actors and also to some extent to identify the relationships between players which are constitutive of a given game (Marin Mayntz 1991). The application of a network approach to the study of SEA may provide useful insights into how SEA influences actor configurations, behaviour-orientation and mobilisation of resources within the wider policy-making context. 2 From a methodological point of view, we will use in the practical analysis three measures: complexity, density and intensity of the relationship with the central actor. Where necessary, the analysis will be split into different phases, while in other cases, the measure will be aggregated. The level of complexity is measured through the diversity by nature (political, bureaucratic, experts, general or special interest group) or by territorial level (international, national, regional, provincial, local) of the actors involved in each phase. One typical way of calculating the density of the network is by using the ratio of the actual links between the actors out of the total theoretically possible links; finally, the level of intensity of the links between the central actor and the other actors has been estimated for each link between this last one and specific actors throughout the different phases. 3 Housing developers (or their representatives) also commented extensively on the SEA, but exhibit more informal linkages or ‘one-to-one’ ties with central players, applying their resources to tracking developments in the policy process.
References Börzel, T.A. (1997), ‘What’s so special about policy networks? An exploration of the concept and its usefulness in studying European Governance’, European Integration Online Papers, 1(16). —— (1998), ‘Organizing Babylon – On the different conceptions of Policy Networks’, Public Administration, 76: 253–73 Bressers, H. T. A. (1998), ‘The choice of policy instruments in policy networks’ in B. G. Peters, and F. K. M. Van Nispen, (eds), Public policy instruments: evaluating the tools of public administration. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Brooke, C., James, E., Jones, R. and Therivel, R. (2004), Implementing the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive in the South West of England, European Environment, 12: 138–52. Cashmore, M., Bond, A. E. and Cobb, D. E. (2007a), ‘The contribution of environmental assessment to sustainable development: towards a richer empirical understanding’, Environmental Management, 40: 516–30. Dente, B., Bobbio, L. and Spada, A. (2005), ‘Government or Governance of Urban Innovation? A Tale of Two Cities’, disP, 162: 41–52. Dente, B., Griggio, C., Mariotto, A. and Pacchi, C. (2001), ‘Governing the Sustainable Development of Venice: elements of institutional planning procedure’, in I. Musu (ed.)
186 Carolina Pacchi, Kara Davies,Valeria Fedeli and Martin Lund-Iversen (2001), Sustainable Venice: Suggestions for the Future. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 227–62. Evans, M. (2001), ‘Understanding dialectics in policy networks’. Political Studies, 43: 343–48. Grote, J. and Gbikpi, B. (eds) (2002), Participatory Governance. Political and Societal Implications. Opladen: Leske+Budrich. Hajer, M. and Wagenaar, H. (eds) (2003), Deliberative Policy Making. Understanding Governance in the Network Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Heffen, O. Van and Klock, P. J. (2000), ‘Institutionalism: state models and policy processes’, in Heffen, O. Van, Kickert, J. M and Thomassen, J. J. A. Governance in Modern Society: Effects, Changes and Formation of Government Institutions. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Heinelt H., Held, G., Kopp-Malek, T., Matthiesen, U., Reisinger, E. and Zimmermann, K. (2006), Governance for Sustainability. Conceptual Framework, unpublished paper, Darmstadt. John P., (2001), ‘Policy networks’, in K. Nash and A. Scott (eds), The Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Oxford: Blackwell. Kenis, P. and V. Schneider, ‘Policy Networks and Policy Analysis: scrutinizing a New Analytical Toolbox’, in R. Mayntz and B. Marin (eds) (1991), Policy Networks: empirical evidence and theoretical considerations. Boulder: Campus. Klijn, E. -H. (2001), ‘Rules as an institutional context for decision making in networks: the approach to postwar housing districts in two cities’, Administration and Society 33: 133–64. Klijn, E. -H. and J. F. M. Koppenjan, (2000), ‘Public Management and Policy Networks’. Public Management, 2(2):135–58. Kooiman, J. (ed.) (1993), Modern Governance: new government-society interactions. London: Sage. Kooiman, J. (2003), Governing as Governance, London: Sage. Le Galès, P. (2001), ‘Urban governance and policy networks: on the urban political boundedness of policy network. A French case study’, Public Administration; 79(1): 167–84. Marks, G. (1997), ‘An actor-centred approach to multi-level governance’ in Jerrefy, C. (ed.) The Regional Dimension of the European Union. Trowbridge: Redwood Books. Marsh, D. and Rhodes, R. A. W. (eds) (1992) Policy Networks in British Government, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Marsh, D and Smith, M (2000), Understanding policy networks: towards a dialectical approach. Political Studies, 48: 4–21. Mayntz R., (1993), ‘Governing Failures and the problems of Governability: some comments on a theoretical paradigm’, in J. Kooiman (ed.), Modern Governance: new governmentsociety interactions. London: Sage. Mayntz, R. and B. Marin (eds) (1991), Policy Networks: empirical evidence and theoretical considerations. Boulder: Campus. Mikkelsen, M. (2006), ‘Policy network analysis as a strategic tool for the voluntary sector’, Policy Studies, 27 (1): 17 – 26. Ostrom, E. (1999), ‘Institutional Rational Choice: an Assessment of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework’. In Sabatier, P. A. (ed.), Theories of the Policy Process. Boulder: Westview Press. —— (2007), ‘An Agenda for the Study of Institutions’, in Jon Pierre and B. Guy Peters (eds), Institutionalism, Vol. 1 (4 vols). London: Sage, pp. 405–27.
Governance, knowledge and policy networks 187 Pierre, J. and B. G. P. (2000), Governance, Politics and the State. New York: St Martin’s Press —— (2005), Governing Complex Societies. Trajectories and Scenarios. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Rhodes, R. A. W. (1996), ‘The new governance: governing without Government’, Political Studies, 44: 652–67. Scharpf, F. (1997), Games real actors play. Boulder: Westview Press. Smith, A. (2000) ‘Policy networks and advocacy coalitions: explaining policy change and stability in UK industrial pollution policy?’ Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 18: 95–114. Thatcher, M. (1998), ‘The development of policy network analyses: from modest origins to overarching frameworks’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 10: 389–416.
10 Governing knowledge for sustainability An appropriate research heuristic or too complex for reality? Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann In this chapter the editors identify and summarize some of the major themes and outcomes to be found in the individual chapters and the GFORS project as a whole. In addition, based on the empirical findings in the field of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Air Quality (PM10) and Emission Trading (ETS) from the project we will further reflect on the conceptual reflections made in the preceding chapters. The central question is what the added value of the GFORS concept is and how to integrate this into the general debate on sustainability. Last, but not least, we will conclude this chapter with a brief reflection on the reciprocity between governance for sustainability and the European debate on environmental policy integration (EPI, see Chapter 1). We will start with a general observation on the empirical insights from the project. This will lead to a discussion on reflective knowledge and sustainability, which are both key concepts of GFORS.
10.1 General remarks on the concept The theoretical and epistemological basis of the GFORS concept is developed in Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6. These foundations remained solid and unchanged/unchallenged during the project and afterwards. As one might expect the implications from the case studies raised questions about the soundness of the conceptual framework, particularly with regard to its heuristic capacities concerning the ‘real world’ of policy implementation. When reflecting upon the results of the detailed case studies and the information presented in Chapters 7, 8, 9 and the meta-governing structures in the three policy areas described in Chapter 2, it rapidly became clear to the GFORS team that in terms of governance modes hierarchy was the dominant form within the particular governance arrangements identified and that networks and market modes operated in ‘the shadow of hierarchy’, although the particular mix of these modes within governance arrangements varied from country to country and from analysed case to analysed case study – sometimes within the same country (although there did seem to be certain similarities regarding the cases within countries pointing to the relevance of general/ country-specific institutionalised settings and the role of the wider political culture). Nevertheless the particular cases focused on (i.e. ETS, SEA and PM10) do seem to
Governing knowledge for sustainability 189 have exerted some ‘independent’ structuring influence on the particular governance arrangements in operation, types of interaction, the forms of knowledge present in the action arena and the interaction between them in terms of filtering processes and learning. In particular the relative significance and role of hierarchy and network modes does, in part, seem to be related to the ‘substantive’ or ‘technical nature’ of the issue under consideration and the nature of the wider political system. Even within the ETS cases markets seem to have played much less of a role than we originally expected – although market-based knowledge does seem to have played a (indirect) structuring role in sense that decisions and assumptions about the economic impacts of particular courses of action have either limited the scope of debate and/or defined what is ‘thinkable’ in terms of possible courses of action (see Chapter 8). In all cases expert/scientific knowledge appeared to be dominant, but this dominance seems to have been structured (or at least mediated) by the political process and thus institutional or political knowledge frequently structured the ‘entry’ of expert knowledge into the decision-making/policy process.
10.2 A notable observation: the predominance of hierarchy The concept underlying the GFORS project initially suggested a rather ‘negative’ view with reference to the normative implications of the governance mode hierarchy, considering it as somehow ‘closed’ and ‘exclusive’ – as traditionally bureaucratic in the worst sense of the word (see Wagenaar 2007 for a similar appraisal). Particularly during the 1990s the conventional wisdom among academics and practitioners emphasised the limits of Government and of hierarchical means of steering (instruments) in environmental policy (Jordan et al. 2005; Jessop 1997; Heinelt et al. 2001; Heinelt 2008). As a result regulative approaches were replaced in part by mechanisms of (regulated) self-regulation, cooperative regulation, participation, networked modes of governance and instruments base on the logic of the market. There are high expectations regarding these new forms of regulation, particularly for market-based instruments (thought to foster efficiency and effectiveness, as well as value for money) and self sustaining networks (thought more likely to foster equity). Although most of these new approaches and instruments emerged from within, and were articulated with, hierarchical governance-orders hierarchies were unfashionable both from a normative and political perspective and also in terms of research. This contrasts with the prevailing positive view of networks as ‘open’ and ‘inclusive’ with correspondingly positive normative implications vis-à-vis hierarchy. With reference to the debate about knowledge and innovation in economic geography networks were also thought to foster innovation by bringing together dispersed (forms of) knowledge. Similarly, although to a lesser degree than networks, it was assumed that markets are more open than hierarchies to new forms of knowledge and participants. What our research has shown is that none of these ‘intuitive’ assumptions are necessarily correct. Networks and markets can also be ‘closed’ and ‘exclusive’. They can create very unequal relationships between participants, be resistant to new participants and forms of knowledge. In terms of hierarchies it needs to be recognised that they can be more or less ‘open’ or ‘closed’
190 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann to both new participants and/or forms of knowledge. All in all, the governanceagenda is quite ambivalent here. On the one hand, innovative and stable solutions depend on the integration and participation of societal actors (knowledge communities). On the other hand the degree of complexity rises with the number and heterogeneity of actors. Thus increasing complexity and, potentially, reducing accountability and transparency. A key assumption in GFORS was that governance modes affect knowledge filtering and the possibilities for the achievement of reflectivity. The intention of the conceptual framework was to contrast hierarchical coordination with coordination in markets and networks. But as indicated above, few examples of markets and networks were found as knowledge producing (and coordinating) governance mechanisms in the case studies, in fact due to the unexpected dominance of hierarchy their influence on formal decision-making was largely absent.
10.3 Reflective knowledge and governance Another central concept of GFORS is reflective knowledge. Reflective knowledge was expected to be a sign of maturity and an optimal outcome of governance processes (see Chapters 5 and 8). Therefore the question can be raised whether (reflective) knowledge has a function/role in terms of providing a greater degree of (apparent) certainty in an increasingly unpredictable world? The knowledge problem is caused by an (ever) increasing level of uncertainty about causes of contamination, effects of harmful substances and the expected results of measures. As a consequence environmental politics and spatial planning on the local level (as well as on other levels) is surrounded by an ever-increasing knowledge-based and knowledge-producing infrastructure that influences discourses, defines the scope of problems, uncovers risks and produces expertise for decision making, albeit often in a very selective manner (Flyvbjerg 1998: 31; see also Flyvbjerg et al. 2003). However, this exponential growth in knowledge production can lead to a knowledge overload that may actually produce more confusion/uncertainty and the decision-making system could become overwhelmed by this. In turn this could necessitate a ‘reduction’ in the use of knowledge – in the sense of only drawing upon knowledge that the relevant actors have confidence in – or an increase in the filtering role played by knowledge brokers/entrepreneurs. The multiplication of knowledge sources and knowledge forms with different validity claims can have negative impacts such as overload and lead to counter-intuitive reactions like defensive routines, epistemic closure, and a narrow focus on scientific expertise or established professional knowledge – or the retreat to hierarchies. Rydin has pointed out that the planning debate of the last decades stressed the opening of arenas and planning processes for multiple knowledge claims via participation and communication but actually offered less guidance for ‘testing and ultimately recognizing these claims’ (Rydin 2007: 58). Here our notion of reflective knowledge seems to point to a pressing need for a more conscious process of knowledge testing and knowledge selection and one that is prepared to reflect on the use (and non-use) of knowledge in a more deliberative manner.
Governing knowledge for sustainability 191 Following our basic argument that governance arrangements (i.e. the particular interaction of institutional orders and actor constellations) have an impact on the modes of knowing (the use and production of knowledge), we sought to identify the degree to which governance arrangement coincided with reflective knowledge in its weak and strong forms. Weak or minimal forms of reflectivity are frequently to be found in acts where a particular choice has to be made. Our notion of strong forms of reflectivity goes back to two major theoretical narratives in social science. The first one is Luhmann’s systems theory (Luhmann 1970). In the 1970s he introduced the notion of reflexive mechanisms for all kinds of self description or ‘auto-application’ (i.e. we are learning to learn, doing research about research or planning to plan). The second narrative refers to a very strong form of epistemic deliberation (Estlund 1997), i.e. the reflexive adjustment of validity claims in deliberative processes. Closely related to this we can test the hypothesis that ‘new forms of governance’ devalue certain types of knowledge and forms of knowledge production and valorise others. For example instruments that are based upon market based forms of governance force actors to use particular forms of knowledge (expert knowledge about technologies and market procedures, scenarios), or at the very least to accord it a primacy over other forms of knowledge. Network based forms of governance in contrast are assumed to gather, and bring together, the dispersed knowledge of various actors (e.g. local knowledge, everyday knowledge). Yet our research demonstrated this was not necessarily the case. As argued earlier, the interrelationships are less clear-cut for several reasons: in the end hierarchy as an institutional order and as a form of interaction seems to be prevalent (even if hierarchies operate more like a shadow). Furthermore a significant determinant of the composition of knowledge in our cases was the types of instruments and the particular character of policy areas. For all these reasons we cannot easily state that one mode of governance is more likely to produce reflective knowledge than another. Although we did not find clear turning points or critical junctures traces of reflective knowledge in its weak form can be found in all cases. Although, perhaps this signals that reflective knowledge, in its weak form, is more prevalent than we originally envisage We discovered that (contrary to our initial assumptions) the governance arrangement itself is the subject of reflective knowledge. We would argue that this is a particular form of reflective institutional knowledge. Other forms of reflective knowledge belong to steering knowledge (everything related to procedures, tactics and strategies of actors). In its weak form strategic uses of knowledge, knowledge strategies, identification of lack of knowledge or uncertainties are moments of reflectivity that potentially lead to an accumulation of reflective knowledge, i.e. ways of knowing what to do or not to do in such a situation (capacity to act). As with the normative assumptions that were initially connected to the three different modes of governance (see Chapter 3) the use of the term ‘reflective knowledge’ is also value laden in terms of how it functions within the conceptual framework, suggesting that the use of reflective knowledge leads to learning processes and better policy results. The empirical work on the case studies has,
192 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann however, shown that this strict perception could actually hinder an open approach towards the empirical material and narrow the scope of potential research outputs ex ante in an unjustified way. Moreover, it would be premature to assume that the emergence of reflective knowledge within a governance arrangement necessarily leads to the involvement of a broader range of knowledge forms within that arrangement. The opposite may be just as likely to happen. The definition of ‘reflective knowledge’ within the conceptual framework proved very difficult to apply empirically as it is a rather ‘fuzzy’ concept. In the following an attempt will be made to recapture reflective knowledge on the basis of our experience with empirical field work in a way that avoids these weaknesses while remaining as consistent as possible with what was described as reflective knowledge at the beginning of the project. Relating reflective knowledge more closely to the construction of filtering processes of knowledge seems to be an adequate means to achieve this objective. There is sufficient evidence in Chapter 3 and 5 that the concepts of ‘reflective knowledge’ and ‘filtering processes’ can be considered as interrelated. The creative character of the concept is emphasized; enabling it to ‘irritate or even transcend institutional and organizational boundaries’ as well as its capacity for ‘testing the flexible limits between knowledge and non-knowledge’. Moreover reflective knowledge is considered as being aware of its own (cultural) context that builds the cognitive point of reference for all kinds of knowledge within it. This self-descriptive awareness of ones own context of application – in other words of the attributes of the filters structuring this application – must be considered as the precondition for any active attempt at influencing this context. Making this – the active attempt of influencing the filtering processes (and therefore the conditions of its own application) – the basis of a reformulation of reflective knowledge is a promising approach to overcome the normative connotations of the concept as well as its difficulties in empirical applicability. It is on the one hand a narrower definition than initially introduced in the conceptual framework as it is restricted to a more narrowly defined set of knowledge phenomena. On the other hand it also goes one step further by not only assuming reflective awareness of one’s own context-embeddedness but also reflective attempts to change this context. Reflective knowledge now becomes – when political processes are assessed – closely related to reflective action (which can for example simply take place in speech acts). Within the GFORS project three exemplary policy instruments were identified, through their adoption policy makers attempted to deal with their awareness of nonknowledge or not-yet-knowledge in a reflective manner. The claim of describing the SEA directive, the emissions trading directive, and the clean air directive as ‘reflective policy instruments’ is justified as these instruments provide strategies relating to how to deal with the prevalence of non-knowledge and how to close some of the identified knowledge gaps – and also how to process and utilize existing knowledge in an effective and legitimate way. In other words, they structure the conditions of knowledge generation and transmission during the implementation of the instrument by generating specific filtering mechanisms.
Governing knowledge for sustainability 193 In sum, reflectivity could therefore be conceptualised as the development of strategies dealing with the awareness of knowledge constraints in governance processes. It can be identified through the observation of actions that are intended to impact upon processes of knowledge filtering, i.e. by attempts to influence the knowledge foundation of binding decisions. It has been noted that this is possible by either participating in the structuring of the filters or by consciously influencing the scope that the pre-structured filters permit – i.e. by trying to open or close them for specific knowledge claims. Capturing the idea of reflective knowledge in the manner described above offers some major benefits: • •
The suggested understanding of reflective knowledge does not have a normative character, i.e. it does not suggest that reflectivity necessarily leads to more legitimate and/or effective governance processes. Closely related to the previous point the proposed understanding of reflectivity also does not assume that a higher degree of reflectivity necessarily leads to a greater number of knowledge forms being involved in political decision making. The opposite can be true when actors intentionally seek to close a filter to keep specific knowledge claims out of the discussion (e.g. diskursive Schließung, Nullmeier 1993). Generally excluding this possibility would again unnecessarily narrow the focus on the gathered empirical material. Finally, the proposed understanding seems to be more easily applicable within empirical analysis as it provides an empirically strong indicator from which we can draw firm inferences – namely the observation of actions aimed at impacting on the filters. It seems to us that it is possible to detect and analyse such actions within a case study. It could be argued that actors might hold reflective knowledge that for some reasons has failed to be translated into observable actions. However, even in this case the interviews conducted should provide sufficient evidence to allow for the detection of these specific instances of reflectivity.
10.4 Sustainability and forms of knowledge In a general and widely accepted understanding, sustainability has to do with environmental, economic and social concerns and has three dimensions: consistency, comprehensiveness and aggregation (Lafferty 2004: 200–1). Moreover it implies a concern for long-term dynamics or a long-term vision. Therefore, GFORS conceived of sustainability as a form of inter-sectoral coordination and inter-temporal integration – as a qualitative process-based approach that focuses on the dynamic and learning capacities of stakeholders. However, while there is a considerable quantity of empirical work on changing governance arrangements and institutional capacity building for sustainable development, the knowledge dimension is largely absent from the debate on sustainability (see for an exception Rydin 2007). Our case studies as well as the conceptual framework are therefore
194 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann situated in the triangle of knowledge, governance and sustainability. We do not assume clear, unidirectional causalities. None of our three categories can be considered stable. The contested interpretation of what may be termed sustainable or unsustainable at local level is embedded in societal and national political systems – from a local level to the meta-governance level. The substance of the concept of sustainability, as well as societal rules, is subject to forms of knowledge and practices of knowing. Concrete actions as well as normative evaluations of measures are based on knowledge. The identification of a certain sustainability problem such as PM10 is connected to an idea of the appropriate governance arrangement needed to (re)solve it. As a general observation, the case studies underline that the three dimensions of sustainability are hard to reconcile. A high degree of comprehensiveness is necessary in order to accommodate concerns for the social and economical aspects of sustainability, not just the environmental aspects. But as an increasing number of concerns are addressed, the likelihood is that consistency and aggregation suffers. This seems to be a basic policy dilemma: The more aspects of an issue you try to take into account, the more difficult it is to aggregate these aspects into consistent policy. The three case issues in GFORS vary substantially in terms of comprehensiveness. Because the SEA directive is designed to ensure that a wide range of issues or consequences for particular actions/interventions are addressed, expectations about a high degree of comprehensiveness are in many cases met. However, we did find some examples where environmental considerations were absent in the arena, despite the opportunities provided by the process regulations. The SEAs in many cases covered social and economical aspects of sustainability, not just environmental aspects. At the same time, the case studies on SEA share a common conclusion: The SEA has not had substantial impacts on actual decisions (see Calvaresi and Coenen 2010). Following this, most SEA studies support the assumption of an inverse relationship between comprehensiveness and aggregation mentioned above. Contrary to SEA, the directives on ETS and PM10 do not call for social and economic aspects of sustainability to be taken into consideration. Lower scores on comprehensiveness can largely be attributed to the definition of these policy areas (following the directives), and not to the actions observed in the individual case studies. One interpretation of the GFORS conceptual framework is that ‘reflective knowledge’ can serve as a tool to overcome this dilemma of an inverse relationship, but empirical evidence does not seem to support this. The assumption about an inverse relationship between comprehensiveness and aggregation can be related to the differentiated approach to hierarchy briefly discussed above. Consider the following assumptions: 1 Narrowly defined policy areas are predominantly governed by means of outcome-based hierarchical regulation. This is associated with low levels of comprehensiveness but potentially higher levels of consistency and aggregation.
Governing knowledge for sustainability 195 2 More broadly defined policy areas are predominantly governed by means of process-based hierarchical regulation. This is associated with high levels of comprehensiveness and low levels of consistency and aggregation. These assumptions gain considerable support from the case studies, but it should be noted that few case study teams reported high levels of consistency and aggregation. In the context of the GFORS conceptual framework these findings are somewhat discouraging, because they indicate that the outcomes, at least in terms of sustainability, are primarily a matter of path dependency, not of reflective knowledge or the effects of governance modes on knowledge filtering. It would seem that there is a choice between a narrow and a broader definition of the policy issue (although this is to some extent a given) and that this choice is the primary determinant of how the outcome will balance comprehensiveness with consistency and aggregation. ‘Defining’ a policy area is a form of second order governance. In GFORS, the main focus of the case studies were on first order governance, on events taking place in the context of an already established system or policy area. However, at least some of the case studies seem to suggest that policy areas may be redefined over time, thus integrating second order governance with first order governance. The initial definition is not given once and for all. For instance, there are substantial variations between countries in terms of how EU directives are implemented in national legislation. Note also that reframing may occur at the regional level as well. The conclusion is encouraging: Even if the above contentions about path dependency are true, there may be room for varying developments.
10.5 From governance for sustainability to Environmental Policy Integration Environmental policy in general and Environmental Policy Integration (EPI) in particular has become a relevant theme for policy makers and the academic community across Europe over the last twenty years and remains so. EPI is about policy integration and more specifically about integrating environmental objectives into other (potentially all) policy fields. This tremendous generality of the concept allows for the development of different strategies in dealing with EPI; in any case it should promote sustainable development at its core (see Lafferty and Hovden 2003). Of course, EPI is not a given concept or daily experience, and therefore multiple interpretations and forms of implementation of this concept have arisen over recent years (Lenschow 2001). Nevertheless there are only a few systematic studies that compare EPI experience at different levels and in different countries (see Lafferty and Hovden 2003). In relation to EPI the sustainability debate is an important parallel debate. The rise of this concept represents a real success story despite its vague and contested nature. But this semantic openness can also be an advantage as argued in chapter 1. The same applies to EPI, viewed as a concept of policy learning by which policy makers become aware of sustainability issues and integrate it into their policy fields. And by the same token, all policies should integrate the environmental dimension
196 Rob Atkinson, Georgios Terizakis and Karsten Zimmermann into their daily work. But there is a difference: sustainability refers to more than the environment. It refers also to social and economic dimensions which have to be integrated just as strongly into sustainability policy. From this perspective, EPI approaches seem closer to traditional policy- and decision making models. From this position EPI could be seen as way of operationalising sustainability in one specific policy field, that of environmental policy. These crucial insights, emerging through our conceptual work, allowed us to provide a different and more nuanced understanding of policy outcomes. We understand policy outcomes as aggregated effects of governance and knowledge in the context of how to address sustainability within particular regional and local situations. Sustainability, from this position, is thus more about experience-based learning processes and their implications for causal assumptions, while institutional change and the generation of new knowledge are more concerned with causes and effects. Given this, our view is that policies developed to promote sustainability will be partial and ineffective unless they effectively incorporate a range of knowledge forms on the first and second order governing levels. Sustainability itself seems to fit better as a ‘Leitbild’ at the meta-governance level. Moreover, with regard to those actors directly and indirectly involved, our theoretical framework suggested that evaluative processes have the potential to produce learning and reflective knowledge which can in turn result in institutional change. In some way, a widespread inclusion of different knowledge forms and their interaction in a governance arena ‘may generate a need for new forms of government.’ (Jordan et al. 2005: 493).
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Governing knowledge for sustainability 197 Lafferty, W. M. (2004) ‘From environmental protection to sustainable development: the challenge of decoupling through sectoral integration’, in Lafferty, W. M. (ed.) Governance for sustainable development. Cheltenham: Elgar. Lenschow, A. (2001a) (ed.) Environmental Policy Integration. Greening sectoral policies in Europe. London: Earthscan Luhmann, N. (1970): ‚Reflexive Mechanismen’, Soziologische Aufklärung 1. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Nullmeier, F. (1993) ‚Wissen und Policy-Forschung. Wissenspolitologie und rhetorischdialektisches Handlungsmodell’, in Héritier, A. (ed.), Policy-Analyse, Kritik und Neuorientierung, PVS-Sonderheft 24. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Rydin, Y. (2007) ‘Re-examining the role of knowledge within planning theory’, Planning Theory, 1(6): 52–68. Wagenaar, H. (2007) ‘Governance, Complexity, and Democratic Participation’, American Review of Public Administration, 37(1): 17–50.
Aggregation 3, 18, 24–8, 58–60, 68–9, 71, 103, 135, 193–5; rules 26–7, 58, 60, 135 Air pollution control 7–8, 16, 36–7, 68, 71, 103–4 Authority 26–9, 55, 57, 59–60, 73–4, 117, 119, 123, 127, 153, 162, 170–1, 173–4, 177–80, 182–4, 196; rules 26, 28, 57, 59–60 Berger and Luckmann 79–80, 85, 89, 96, 100–11 Brundtland Commission 16 Brundtland Report 2, 44, 51, 163; Choices of action 34, 36, 38–9, 42, 45, 47–8, 150 Choices of interpretation 34, 36, 38–41, 43–4, 47, 149–50 Choices of knowledge 68, 148–9 Clean Air For Europe/CAFE 39, 50 Climate change 3, 15, 21, 30, 33, 37, 39–42, 47, 49, 50, 53, 64, 67, 70, 74, 149, 152–3, 156–7, 159, 162 Cognitive turn 8, 73, 77–81, 83, 85, 87–9, 91, 93 Comprehensiveness 18, 24–8, 69, 71, 134, 137, 139, 193–5 Consistency 3, 18–19, 24–8, 42, 69, 71, 86, 193–5 Coupling 5, 10, 20, 31, 54, 71, 102–3, 107, 109, 143, 164, 167, 197 DG Environment 15–6, 46, 49 Discourse analysis 64, 75, 106, 115–20, 126–30 Discursive turn 9, 116 Environmental Action Program/EAP 37, 39–40, 44–8, 50, 81, 109, 151
Emission Trading Scheme/ETS 8, 42–3, 51, 64, 147, 149, 151, 153, 159–60, 188–90, 194 Environmental Action Program 14–15, 34, 37, 44–6, 48, 50 Environmental Policy Integration/EPI 8, 14–16, 18–19, 33, 188, 195–6 European Commission 11, 15–16, 42, 161 Filter 23, 34, 47–8, 54, 64, 66–71, 79, 97, 99, 104–6, 108–10, 137, 148–50, 152, 155, 157, 159, 161, 173, 180, 189, 192–3, 195 Filtering 34, 54, 67, 68, 70–1, 106, 110, 159, 180, 190 Filtering process 34, 47, 54, 64, 66–9, 99, 106, 109, 148–50, 152, 159, 189, 192 First order governing 34, 48, 62–4, 149–53, 155, 159–60 Foucault 118–19, 121, 126, 129 Germany 9, 48, 56, 149, 153, 161, GFORS 1, 3, 6, 8–10, 65, 69, 81, 85, 102, 105–6, 110, 115–18, 120–1, 125, 126, 131, 142, 164, 168–9, 177, 183, 188–90, 192–5 Globalization 51, 90, 116–17, 129 Governance 3–4, 11–12, 24, 55–7, 60, 110, 117, 167, 191, 195 Governing orders 59, 62, 64–5, 73, 149–51, 161 Habermas 86, 100–1, 105, 112, 118, 121 Hierarchy 24, 55–7, 60–2, 73–6, 105, 109, 140, 173, 179, 183, 188–91, 194, 196 IAD framework 8, 54, 57, 59, 65–6, 70–1, 102–3, 148, 151, 169
200 Index Ideas 20, 28, 34, 44, 62, 70, 77–80, 88, 96–7, 115, 120, 123, 132, 142, 144, 166 Information rules 26–8, 58–60, 69 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change/IPCC 41–2, 49, 152–3, 156, 162 Italy i, 139, 169, 174
Non-Knowledge 21, 67–8, 71, 94, 102, 192 Norway 169, 178 NOx 38
Knowledge 12, 18–19, 33, 52–5, 66, 77–80, 94, 135–6; design 33, 35, 47–8; explicit 81, 96; economic 101; expert 100–1; everyday 5, 96–7, 100; implicit 96, 108–9; institutional 101; local 17, 102; market 101; milieux 102; product 101; reflective 2, 4–7, 12, 22–3, 25, 69, 72, 81, 83, 87, 102–5, 110, 116, 131, 142–3, 147–51, 153–61, 166, 188, 190–6; society 1, 54, 94, 100, 109; steering 101; tacit 20, 96 KnowledgeScapes 5–9, 31, 67–8, 70–2, 75, 80–1, 88, 95, 97–8, 100, 103–6, 108–12, 115–16, 120, 127 Kooiman 34, 62–3 Kyoto process 41–2, 49, 64, 153 Kyoto protocol xviii, 41–2
Particulate matter 3, 8, 21, 26, 31, 33, 35–40, 43, 47–8, 50–51, 156–7, 188, 194 Payoff rules 58, 60 Pb 38 Planning process 140, 142, 144, 169, 173, 175, 177–8, 180, 190 Polanyi 96, 109, 113 Policy networks 10, 24, 30–1, 91, 164–9, 171, 173, 175, 177, 179, 181, 183–7 Pragmatism 96–7
Learning 4–5, 7, 11–12, 14, 19–21, 24–6, 28–32, 54, 58–9, 69–70, 72, 74, 77, 81, 83–92, 94, 97, 103, 106, 110, 115, 131–2, 135, 141–2, 144–6, 165–7, 169, 176, 189, 191, 193, 195–6 Leitbild 62, 134, 196 Local Agenda 21 20, 64 Market 4, 16, 23–4, 27, 35–6, 40, 46, 48, 55–6, 60–2, 72, 86, 96, 101, 105, 109, 116–17, 151, 160, 188–90, Meta governing 34, 39, 47–8, 62–4, 149–50, 152, 160, 188 Milan 140, 169, 174, 176, 179–81 Molde 178, 180–84 Mode 2 96 Multi-level 7, 50, 75, 109, 153, 186; governance 109; system 153 Network 4, 10, 24–5, 27–8, 35, 38, 53–7, 60–2, 85–6, 98, 100–1, 107, 121, 140, 144, 150, 154, 159, 164–184, 188–91 New Environmental Policy Instruments/ NEPI 8, 30, 33, 35
Ostrom 54, 59, 65–6, 102, 148, 151
Reflexivity 4, 14, 135, 137, 139–40, 193 Scope 19, 23–4, 26–8, 58, 60, 77, 95, 99, 127, 134, 139, 149, 158, 189–90, 192–3; rules 26–7, 58 Strategic Environmental Assessment/SEA 8–10, 13, 15–16, 21, 33, 36, 43–9, 51, 53, 65, 68, 103, 131–7, 139–44, 146, 164, 168–81, 183–5, 188, 192, 194, 196 Second order governing 34, 37–8, 42, 47–8, 62–4, 149–53, 159–61, 168, 173, 177, 196 South West of England 169 SO2 38 Spatial planning 9, 21–2, 53, 131–2, 137–9, 155–7, 159, 190 Stakeholder 20, 25–6, 36, 46, 48, 94, 108–9, 116, 131, 136, 138, 158, 162, 169, 174, 176, 193 Strategic spatial planning 9, 131–2, 137–8 Sustainable development 2–4, 7–8, 10–11, 14–16, 21, 29–32, 36, 43–5, 47, 53, 74–6, 94, 131, 135–6, 145–6, 185, 193, 195, 197 The Netherlands 45 UK 37, 46, 56, 132, 169