f_0016603_14355

f_0016603_14355 - Environmental Justice in World Politics...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 1, Spring 2009 59 Environmental Justice in World Politics Özgüç Orhan* Abstract All environmental problems in one way or another are involved in the question of justice. The concept of “environmental justice” has been in circulation for some time underlining the justice dimension of environmental issues. Given the globalization of environmental problems since 1970s, the environmental justice discourse has been increasingly used to frame various international or global environmental issues like toxic waste trade, ozone depletion, biodiversity protection, and global warming. 1 There is now quite a number of phrases that can help us to think environmental justice outside state borders: “global environmental justice,” “transnational environmental justice,” “international environmental justice,” and “international environmental equity.” 2 Environmental scholars using these terms often fail to draw meaningful distinctions among them. I argue that this multiplicity of phrases signifies more than an inadvertent inflation of terminology. The terminological diversity we encounter in IR literature actually corresponds to different modes of environmental justice in world politics. Environmental issues in world politics are often studied along three spatial dimensions: international, transnational, and global. Despite the fact that these three dimensions are intertwined in the real world, we can draw analytical distinctions among them. The international dimension is the oldest and the most dominant level of analysis in the IR literature. Since the end of World War II, the questions of peace and conflict among nations have been central to the IR field. The strict state-centric focus of these studies, however, has led to the reconsideration of the classic realist paradigm in the 1970s. The neo-liberal institutional school played a key role in this
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 1, Spring 2009 60 revision by raising the profile of the transnational dimension of world politics. 3 Among the new issues that the transnational dimension of world politics shed light on were human rights, social movements, and environmental protection, all of which were relevant to world politics but could not fit into the inter-state framework of the international dimension. Finally, the mind-boggling pace of globalization since the end of Cold War has brought to light the global dimension of world politics which compels us to conceive issues not between (as in the “international” dimension), nor across (as in the “transnational” dimension) but without borders. The transnational dimension of world politics has been most visible in the increasing
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f_0016603_14355 - Environmental Justice in World Politics...

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