Ecological Modernization from Below: Enabling Social Actor Involvement through the Right to Information

By Bernadette White.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

In recent years, Ecological Modernization has been shaped by criticisms about the lack of applicability to developing country contexts; in short, Ecological Modernization has been seen only as a process that occurs in industrialized nations. However, more recent scholarship has looked at how deliberative processes on environmental issues also take place in developing countries, most notably the work of David Sonnenfeld on pulp factories in Southeast Asia. This paper seeks to highlight deliberative democratic practices in environmental debates, but also how these discussions can be spurred from the grassroots level, through the utilization of institutional reforms. The introduction of the Right to Information Act (RTI) in India in 2005, stemming from activism and protests to implement such legislation, has served as a means for social activists to gain entry into discussions about policy issues and government accountability. Among the various issues that activists have utilized the RTI for are environmental issues, playing a role in monitoring government policy formulation and implementation. This process can be called an “opening of democracy” and is characterized by the development of more inclusive processes of deliberation, which have allowed multiple parties to have a stake in environmental issues in India.

Keywords: Right to Information, India, Ecological Modernization, Environmental Activism

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.37-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 495.068KB).

Ms. Bernadette White

PhD Student, Sociology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA

Currently, I am a third year doctoral student in the Sociology program at Syracuse University. My current research focuses on the framing of farmer suicide as a social problem and the impact and meaning this has for farmers in the Vidarbha region of Central India. I am also interested in the gendered aspects of the issue, with widows of farmers becoming the "face" of farmers suicide and women farmers being the targets of development programs. I have learned Hindi and Marathi for the purposes of this research. I am originally from Austin, Texas; I did my undergraduate at Texas A&M University and received my Masters from Virginia Tech, in International Affairs.