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Transparency in Global Environmental GovernanceCritical Perspectives$
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Aarti Gupta and Michael Mason

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027410

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027410.001.0001

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A Transparency Turn in Global Environmental Governance

A Transparency Turn in Global Environmental Governance

(p.3) 1 A Transparency Turn in Global Environmental Governance
Transparency in Global Environmental Governance

Gupta Aarti

Mason Michael

The MIT Press

In this introductory chapter, Aarti Gupta and Michael Mason lay out the rationale for the in-depth examination of transparency-based global environmental governance arrangements undertaken in this volume. The chapter outlines how “governance by disclosure”, that is, targeted disclosure of information intended to steer behavioral change and achieve specific outcomes, is symptomatic of a transparency turn in this realm. It draws on various theoretical traditions in (global) environmental politics scholarship to outline a distinctive approach—critical transparency studies—that informs the analyses in this volume. This critical perspective underpins the analytical framework developed in the chapter to assess the uptake, institutionalization, and effects of transparency in global environmental governance. The framework includes propositions about the drivers of transparency’s uptake and its potential transformative effects, with which all empirical chapters engage. The chapter concludes with an overview of the contributions and summary of key findings. Its point of departure is that transparency’s effects are likely to manifest themselves in specific constellations of power, practice, and authority relationships, which shape its transformative potential. The chapter thus outlines a research agenda to begin exploring whether, and under what conditions, transparency’s emancipatory promise may be realized.

Keywords:   Transparency, global environmental governance, sustainability, governance by disclosure, critical transparency studies, transparency turn

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