Ecological modernisation, environmental knowledge and national character: A preliminary analysis of the Netherlands

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Comparative research regarding the varying capabilities of the advanced countries to pursue strategies consistent with ecological modernisation has typically focused on institutional and economic capacity. Though these features certainly shape preparedness for this policy programme in important ways, they do not provide sufficient insight into the ability of individual nations to meet the rigorous requirements of ecological modernisation. More specifically, this policy programme is dependent upon a firm commitment to science and a preference to address environmental problems in technological terms. However, environmental decision-making, particularly among members of the lay public, is predicated upon numerous epistemologies and countries exhibit considerable variation in their propensity to align their policies with strict rational reasoning. This study introduces a typology that identifies four archetypal environmental knowledge orientations: rational ecologism, Prometheanism, Arcadianism, and ecocidal mysticism. The concept of national character offers one approach for operationalising this typology for empirical application and a case study of the Netherlands suggests that the Dutch style of interpreting indeterminate environmental data is broadly consistent with the principles of ecological modernisation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-106
Number of pages30
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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