Special Issue "Bringing Governance Back Home — Lessons for Local Government regarding Rapid Climate Action"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. David Tyfield
Website
Guest Editor
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK
Interests: sustainability transitions; government of complex systems; future cities, infrastructures and mobility systems; China and the world
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Rebecca Willis
Website
Guest Editor
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK.
Interests: energy and climate governance; deliberative democratic approaches to climate change
Dr. Andy Yuille
Website
Guest Editor
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK
Interests: expert & lay knowledges; experiments in democracy; participatory governance; environment-society relations; science and technology studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is a growing recognition both that rapid action on climate change is urgently necessary, and that many of the responsibilities for this action (e.g., around transport, land use planning and economic development) rest at a local level. This is attested to by the growing number of local authorities internationally that have declared climate emergencies. Responding to this emergency will require significant changes to the assumptions, expectations, priorities and procedures of locally elected representatives and government officials.

Two apparently contradictory narratives emerge out of the arena of (local) responses to climate change, in the context of climate as a failure of governance relations between state and diverse non-state actors. On the one hand, effective and/or ‘resilient’ climate governance can be understood as a matter of building polities (including politicians, citizens and public, private and third sectors) capable of governing themselves collaboratively. This both blurs conventional dualisms between the governing and the governed, expert and lay, ordinary citizens and decision-makers and challenges orthodox norms of governance, building on decades of research and advocacy around the democratization of science and participation in technoscientific decision-making. On the other, it can be understood as speaking to a need for constantly improving but still-professionalized institutional divisions of labour of governance, which includes capacities for strong governmental leadership informed by rigorous independent scientific analysis. This, in turn, poses a challenge to more critical, heterodox approaches to governance, which have been argued to provide a utopian and/or overly holistic account of participatory governance, neglecting a multitude of embedded relations of power that are not easily disentangled, and fetishizing the capacity of ‘the local’ as the scale at which competing priorities can best be resolved.

This Special Issue will explore the responses of local government across the world to the need for rapid climate action. We are particularly interested in the lived experience of local politicians, officers and those engaging with them in adapting to this challenge and driving the response. While questions of technical solutions and policy design for rapid climate action have been well studied, little attention has been paid to the crucial question of how such outcomes might be implemented, by whom, and how action is enabled or constrained by the institutional and other sociotechnical relations in which these actors are embedded.

We welcome contributions that will address this gap in the literature by exploring what it might mean to ‘bring governance back home’: responding to these contradictory narratives in ways that acknowledge the practical necessity of smaller, more human scales and modes of governance, while grounding normative speculation about models of governance in the empirical and power realities of doing local climate governance in practice.

Dr. David Tyfield
Prof. Rebecca Willis
Dr. Andy Yuille
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • local government
  • climate change
  • lived experience
  • expert/lay knowledge
  • governance
  • participation

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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