Accepted paper:

pdf download Simulative governance: on the collaborative language of civil society participation in the CDM's stakeholder framework


Magdalena Kuchler (Uppsala University)
Eva Lovbrand (Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is often used as a prime example of new and hybrid forms of governance operating at the public-private frontier. The practical enactment of this arrangement involves a wide array of non-state actors. This broad involvement is here assumed to mark a shift towards more polycentric and networked modes of governing where agents are invited as 'stakeholders' in the process of rule-setting and implementation. In this paper we depart from the liberal norm of consensus and instead examine its political effects. We do so by employing the post-political critique to interrogate what it entails for civil society actors to be stakeholders that raise their concerns on specific CDM projects. Based on analyses of documentation of the project validation and direct communication with the CDM Executive Board, as well as interviews with key actors in the CDM process, we ask what kinds of politicizing and/or de-politicizing effects that the stakeholder framework fosters and what spaces for social critique and resistance it produces. The analysis suggests that stakeholding in the CDM constitutes a form of simulative governance that holds a promise of activated civil society participation but, simultaneously, employs tactics that aim at avoiding politicization of local communities and de-politicizing voices of critique from global civic actors. The paper contributes to the post-political critique by lifting it beyond the Western-centric focus on advanced modern societies and opening up to spaces where de-politicization practices can take the form of non-activating potentially political actors.

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panel C3
Stakeholder involvement: An inclusive or exclusive practice?