Water and Power: The Environmental Politics of a Virginia Reservoir

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Date
1999-04-30
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

This thesis attempts to problematize the power relations in environmental administration and decision making through the analytical lens of environmental discourse and ethics. It argues that developments in environmental politics reveal a marked increase in democratic involvement through an emerging ecological civil society as reflected in the case study of the proposed King William Reservoir in Virginia. An ecological civil society could become the leaders and educators in communities to develop the expertise needed for responsible democratic participation in environmental decision making at the local level. As reflected in the case study, however, official political marginalization and exclusion of the public are continued features of federal and state environmental processes and structures. These processes and structures should be re-formed to include new democratic elements which would increase local control and responsibility for environmental transformations, and reduce conflicts overall.

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Keywords
environmental ethics, environmental discourse, subpolitics, risk society, environmental politics, ecological civil society
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