Symbolic environmental legislation and societal self-deception
|Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Environmental Studies; Government & Law; Political Science
|ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
The primarily symbolic quality of many environmental laws is widely held responsible for the fact that despite all eco-political achievements many major environmental problems still remain unresolved. This contribution works towards a clear conceptual distinction between symbolic and non-symbolic environmental legislation; it investigates different levels of effectiveness of symbolic legislation, tries to establish a series of external factors which are conducive to the production of primarily symbolic laws, and argues that such legislation must not simply be understood as wilfully deceiving the citizenry, but can also be read as reflecting a certain readiness of citizens to let them be deceived. Thus, the incidence of symbolic legislation may point towards practices of societal self-deception. The German Summer Smog Act 1995 and the Ordinance on Large Combustion Plants 1983 are analysed and compared as paradigmatic examples of symbolic and non-symbolic environmental legislation and as empirical cases for the study of the questions that have just been outlined.
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checked on Mar 2, 2024