Earthly Politics

From Politics, Science, and the Environment

Earthly Politics

Local and Global in Environmental Governance

Edited by Sheila Jasanoff and Marybeth Martello





Globalization today is as much a problem for international harmony as it is a necessary condition of living together on our planet. Increasing interconnectedness in ecology, economy, technology, and politics has brought nations and societies into even closer contact, creating acute demands for cooperation. Earthly Politics argues that in the coming decades global governance will have to accommodate differences even as it obliterates distance, and will have to respect many aspects of the local while developing institutions that transcend localism.

This book analyzes a variety of environmental-governance approaches that balance the local and the global in order to encourage new, more flexible frameworks of global governance. On the theoretical level, it draws on insights from the field of science and technology studies to enrich our understanding of environmental-development politics. On the pragmatic level, it discusses the design of institutions and processes to address problems of environmental governance that increasingly refuse to remain within national boundaries.

The cases in the book display the crucial relationship between knowledge and power—the links between the ways we understand environmental problems and the ways we manage them—and illustrate the different paths by which knowledge-power formations are arrived at, contested, defended, or set aside. By examining how local and global actors ranging from the World Bank to the Makah tribe in the Pacific Northwest respond to the contradictions of globalization, the authors identify some of the conditions for creating more effective engagement between the global and the local in environmental governance.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262101035 376 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 2 illus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262600590 376 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 2 illus.


Sheila Jasanoff

Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of Can Science Make Sense of Life? and other books and the coeditor of Earthly Politics: Local and Global in Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2004).

Marybeth Martello


  • The strength of this book lies in the way it sets forth some of the insights and contributions of the sociology of science for understanding environmental politics and governance. It draws out the connections very nicely, and will be useful for both scholars in the sociology of science/scientific knowledge and in environmental politics and governance.

    Frederick H. Buttel

    William H. Sewell Professor of Rural Sociology and Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin Madison