This Special Issue is concerned with theories and methodologies of discourse analysis and their contribution to environmental policy research in particular. It is a response to three theoretical challenges in the field of environmental policy and public management of natural resources: (i) environmental policy problems are obviously the effect of social constructions although they concern â€˜naturalâ€™ objects; (ii) struggles about concepts, knowledge and meaning are an essential element of environmental policy; (iii) environmental discourse has material and power effects as well as being the effect of material practices and power relations. These three challenges question to what extent is environmental policy about â€˜natureâ€™ and the â€˜environmentâ€™?\r
After shortly explaining these challenges, this introduction will sketch out particularities of the discursive perspective and distinguish between a Foucaultian and non-Foucaultian perspective. Following this, it will be shown how the contributors to the Special Issue use discourse analysis to treat nature and environment as contested concepts. The paper concludes with a discussion concerning achievements of and challenges to discourse analysis in environmental policy and planning.
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