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Document Details :
Title: Ends, Means, Beginnings
Subtitle: Environmental Technocracy, Ecological Deliberation or Embodied Disagreement?
Author(s): MACHIN, Amanda , SMITH, Graham
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 21 Issue: 1 Date: 2014
Technocratic attitudes suggest that decisions about environmental policy should be led by scientific experts. Such decisions, it is expected, will be more rational than any arrived at by a democratic mediation between the narrow, short-term interests and uninformed preferences of the general public. Within green political theory, deliberative democracy has emerged as the dominant repost to technocracy, offering an account of how democratic polities can deal with complex scientific and technological decisions through the emergence of communicative rationality. This article argues that neither appeals to expert knowledge, nor communicative rationality, are likely to deliver the optimal green outcomes that proponents suggest, but rather will cover up the inevitable disagreements over environmental policy making. Instead the article suggests that more ecologically-sensitive and democratic decision making about complex scientific and technological issues can emerge if we acknowledge the differently embodied perspectives of decision-makers – from scientists to citizens. This prioritises democratic means over green ends, yet incorporates the environment at the beginning of the decision-making process. The article aims to sketch out the theoretical and practical implications of such an embodied turn for responding to the anti-democratic tendencies of environmental technocracy.