Accepted paper:

Registering difference, encouraging dissent? An analysis of Indian biofuel policy as 'good environmental politics'


Evelien de Hoop (Utrecht University)
Saurabh Arora (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

Following its 2003 biodiesel mission, the Indian national government released its biofuel policy in December 2009. We evaluate if the making of this policy can be considered 'good environmental politics'. Policy is viewed as a set of propositions that have been progressively assembled. This assembling process constitutes 'good environmental politics' if the propositions were well-articulated in their making. By well-articulated, following Isabelle Stengers, Vinciane Despret and Bruno Latour, we do not simply mean that a proposition is clear in its formulation but rather that it has registered the agency of many discursive, material and procedural entities. The process of assembling well-articulated propositions must have, a) invited and accommodated as many different entities as possible without unifying their actions/voices into a repetitive singularity; b) registered the voices of entities that were hitherto mute; c) allowed the registered entities to successively challenge and recompose the propositions; d) maximized the entities' potential to dispute scientific as well as political authority; e) produced a set of propositions that are not easily transferrable between different socio-ecological situations. Attempting to perform 'good science' in this paper by recording widely different perspectives on the policy-making process, we find that the Indian government's policy was an attempt to do 'good environmental politics', which partially responded to many entities' recalcitrance. However, it still failed to register some crucial voices, especially those that were hitherto mute. We conclude that our normative evaluation framework needs to discriminate better between more and less crucial voices to register in specific socio-ecological situations.

panel C3
Stakeholder involvement: An inclusive or exclusive practice?