From anti-pollution to climate change risk movement: Reshaping civic epistemology

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From the perspective of reflexive governance, this study probes into the transformative capacity and roles of government and civil society, and aims to determine how the authoritative developmental neo-liberalism state was challenged by civil society in democratization from the end of the 1980s, when it encountered a crisis of governance legitimacy. By analyzing the anti-petrochemical movement of the recent two decades, this paper recognizes the important historic line, and proposes that without innovative governance, a regime of expert politics with hidden and delayed risk will result in higher degrees of mistrust and confrontational positions by the public. In contrast to the government, local and civil societies are growing through the anti-pollution appeals of simple group protests into systematic and robust civic knowledge and strategic action. By administrative, legislative, judicial, and risk statement paths, such strategic mobilizations break through authoritative expert politics and reshape new civic epistemology. The process of reflexive governance is extremely radical. When two parties cannot commit to dealing with a high degree of mistrust, they will not be able to manage the more dramatic threat of climate change. Fundamentally speaking, a robust civil society will be an important driving power competing with government, in terms of constructing innovative governance.




Chou, K. T. (2015). From anti-pollution to climate change risk movement: Reshaping civic epistemology. Sustainability (Switzerland), 7(11), 14574–14596.

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