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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that attention to environmental action forces us to revise conventional democratic theory. Democratic theory depends upon suppositions exploded by environmental issues: on a discrete identifiable citizenry making decisions for itself, for example, or on the revisability of policy decisions. Democracy constrains environmental action while environmental challenges constrain democracy. The answer, however, is not less democracy, as there is no alternative to democracy if we seek justice in a plural world. Simple democratic assumptions are the best candidates for general adjudication of differences. Rather than turn away from democratic theory, we must return to its majoritarian essence. Thus the chapter sketches a democratic approach that enables rather than constrains environmental possibilities by refocusing democratic theory on protecting majority interests and reframing environmental issues in terms of protecting majority interest in sustainability from minority interests in extraction.

Keywords: environment, democracy, majority interest, environmental political theory, democratic theory, environmental justice, sustainability, conflict

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