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The Politics of the Anthropocene$
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John S. Dryzek and Jonathan Pickering

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809616

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809616.001.0001

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Governance in the Anthropocene

Governance in the Anthropocene

(p.34) 3 Governance in the Anthropocene
The Politics of the Anthropocene

John S. Dryzek

Jonathan Pickering

Oxford University Press

The opposite of path dependency is reflexivity, the capacity of structures, systems, and ideas to question their own core commitments, and if necessary change themselves, not just do different things. The main requirement of governance in the Anthropocene is ecological reflexivity, which requires listening and responding effectively to signals from the Earth system, and foresight to anticipate potentially catastrophic changes. Ecological reflexivity fights pathological path dependencies. More effective deliberative and democratic practices can help. However, no fixed model of governance is appropriate in an ever-changing Earth system. Instead, this chapter shows how to think about building the capacity of governance to change, which is much more important than any specific model. The challenge is to develop governance capacities that have never been fully demonstrated before. Looking at the ambiguous history of climate governance, we draw lessons about how ecological reflexivity can be cultivated.

Keywords:   Anthropocene, path dependency, ecological reflexivity, deliberative democracy, resilience, climate governance, state shifts, foresight

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