Governing the Air

From Politics, Science, and the Environment

Governing the Air

The Dynamics of Science, Policy, and Citizen Interaction

Edited by Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist

Experts offer theoretical and empirical analyses that view the regulation of transboundary air pollution as a dynamic process.





Experts offer theoretical and empirical analyses that view the regulation of transboundary air pollution as a dynamic process.

Governing the Air looks at the regulation of air pollution not as a static procedure of enactment and agreement but as a dynamic process that reflects the shifting interrelationships of science, policy, and citizens. Taking transboundary air pollution in Europe as its empirical focus, the book not only assesses the particular regulation strategies that have evolved to govern European air, but also offers theoretical insights into dynamics of social order, political negotiation, and scientific practices. These dynamics are of pivotal concern today, in light of emerging international governance problems related to climate change. The contributors, all prominent social scientists specializing in international environmental governance, review earlier findings, analyze the current situation, and discuss future directions for both empirical and theoretical work.

The chapters discuss the institutional dimensions of international efforts to combat air pollution, examining the effectiveness of CLRTAP (Convention for Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution) and the political complexity of the European Union; offer a broad overview and detailed case studies of the roles of science, expertise, and learning; and examine the “missing link” in air pollution policies: citizen involvement.

Changing political conditions, evolving scientific knowledge, and the need for citizen engagement offer significant challenges for air pollution policy making. By focusing on process rather than product, learning rather than knowledge, and strategies rather than interests, this book gives a nuanced view of how air pollution is made governable.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262016506 384 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 3 figures, 13 tables


$27.00 X ISBN: 9780262516426 384 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 3 figures, 13 tables


Rolf Lidskog

Rolf Lidskog is Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at Örebro University, Sweden.

Göran Sundqvist

Göran Sundqvist is Professor of Science, Technology, and Culture at the University of Oslo, Norway.


  • Governing the Air is a much welcomed and needed book within the area of risk governance and management. Arguably the popularity of transboundary air pollution studies peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s, after which the field became eclipsed by discussions surrounding climate change. With this book, professors Lidskog and Sundqvist and their stellar cast of authors have once again put transboundary air pollution studies into the limelight. This is a must-read book for policy makers, academics, and others active in the air pollution debate of the present day.

    Ragnar E. Löfstedt

    Professor of Risk Management and the Director of King's Centre for Risk Management, King's College London

  • This is a book about air quality, but also the ways in which environmental governance necessitates the negotiation and framing of social, scientific, and natural boundaries. The authors provide a compelling blend of empirical insight and theoretical sophistication—spiced throughout with innovative reflections on practice. Governing the Air makes a powerful case for the conceptual, political, and practical significance of high-quality social science.

    Alan Irwin

    Copenhagen Business School