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1 - Introduction

A Broadened Understanding of Global Environmental Negotiations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 August 2023

Hannah Hughes
Aberystwyth University
Alice B. M. Vadrot
Universität Wien, Austria
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The introduction explores why there is so much scholarly interest in global environmental negotiations and how the conceptualization and study of these has changed over time. It unpacks how to study global environmental negotiations and related sites as agreement-making defined as the multiple actors, sites, and processes through which environmental agreements are made, and the new sets and arrangements of actors, sites, and processes that are created by any specific agreement, which have the potential to reinforce or reorient the global political order. This approach is offered as a way to organize, spatialize, situate, and connect diverse forms of scholarship into, around, and related to negotiation sites and their products. The introduction provides an overview of the book chapters, which provide the methodological building blocks for conducting this research. As such, the book is relevant for many other nonenvironmental issue areas where collective action is at the core, such as global health, nuclear nonproliferation, security, and trade.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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Further Reading

1.Hughes, H. and Vadrot, A. B. M. (2019). Weighting the World: IPBES and the Struggle over Biocultural Diversity. Global Environmental Politics 19, 1437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Evidence for expanding sites of negotiation to the intergovernmental science bodies that inform these processes came from collaborative research that brought together observations from across sites, as presented in the cited article.Google Scholar
2.Hughes, H., Vadrot, A., Allan, J. I. et al. (2021). Global Environmental Agreement-Making: Upping the Methodological and Ethical Stakes of Studying Negotiations. Earth System Governance 10, 100121.Google Scholar
This collective piece authored by the contributors to this book introduces the term “agreement-making” and calls for methodological innovation and greater reflection on the ethical stakes of research on global environmental negotiations. The piece resulted from a workshop funded and organized by MARIPOLDATA in Vienna in September 2019.Google Scholar
3.Vadrot, A. B. M. (2020). Multilateralism as a “Site” of Struggle over Environmental Knowledge: The North-South Divide. Critical Policy Studies 14(2), 233245.Google Scholar
This article discusses agreement-making sites as “sites of struggle over environmental knowledge.” It argues that CEE is crucial for studying the multiple and contested roles of science in global environmental negotiations, but needs to be combined with the social study of the scientific field, as exemplified by the European Research Council MARIPOLDATA project ( Scholar


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