Environmental Argument and Cultural Difference

Locations, Fractures and Deliberations

by Ricca Edmondson (Volume editor) Henrike Rau (Volume editor)
©2008 Conference proceedings 390 Pages


Environmental argument is ‘about’ far more than meets the eye. How people (mis)understand each other during environmental debates is affected by conflicts between values and ways of life which may not be directly connected with the environment at all. This book offers sociological evidence from three contrasting societies – Ireland, Germany and China – to explore how diversity of cultural context affects deliberation about the physical world. What can we discover by examining environmental debates through the lens of interculturality? When people disagree about flood management, building motorways or extracting gas, what difference does it make if they have diverse experiences of neighbourly relations, how to use time or how to imagine a good life? What is going on at intersections between cultures to influence the trajectories of environmental debates? The book disinters taken-for-granted practices, feelings and social relationships which affect environmental arguments, in scientific and artistic debate as well as in politics and policy-making. Importantly, the book makes visible the effects of cultural difference on people’s approaches to arguing itself. If public arguing is shaped by specific habits of feeling or imagination, how does that impact on theories of democracy? Do we need new kinds of arguing to cope with environmental crises? What elements of arguing are decisive in the ways people come to see environmental decisions as wise choices?


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2008 (March)
Deutschland Umweltpolitik China Irland Aufsatzsammlung Contrasting societies Flood management Cultural difference Environment Humanökologie
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2008. 390 pp.

Biographical notes

Ricca Edmondson (Volume editor) Henrike Rau (Volume editor)

The Editors: Ricca Edmondson studied at the universities of Lancaster and Oxford and is now senior lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She has previously worked in universities in Berlin and at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Her specialisms include theories of rhetoric, argumentation and wisdom; ageing and life-course development; links between methodology and theory; and interculturality. Henrike Rau is a lecturer in Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her doctoral research work focused on the comparative study of German and Irish time perspectives and temporal practices. Her current research interests include time-related aspects of environmental change and sustainability, and the study of socio-temporal and cultural consequences of car-dependency and high mobility.


Title: Environmental Argument and Cultural Difference