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The biological diversity complex: a history of environmental government

Kotsakis, Andreas (2011) The biological diversity complex: a history of environmental government. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The thesis understands biodiversity as a complex consisting of a form of environmentalism, a mode of governance for the global South, and a set of policy prescriptions all mobilized by the guiding idea of ‘genetic gold,’ the belief that biodiversity possesses significant latent economic value. The thesis primarily analyses the historical origins of biodiversity and the formation of a rationality of governing centred on genetic gold, deploying tools and methods from the work of Michel Foucault. It further applies these insights into the examination of two specific regulatory mechanisms developed within this project of environmental governance: the mechanism for securing access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation, and local and indigenous community participation in biodiversity conservation and utilisation. The aim of this research is a dual critique. First, the unpacking of the complexity of the biodiversity concept and its integrative rendering of biodiversity loss as a governance problem constitutes a critique of environmental law’s enthusiastic acceptance and subsequent regulation of biodiversity as genetic gold. Secondly, the conception of a broader governance complex pervaded by non-legal forms of knowledge, expertise and practices challenges an international environmental law that continues to regard itself as the instrumental centre of environmental concern and discourse.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Andreas Kotsakis
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Sets: Departments > Law
Supervisor: Heyvaert, Veerle

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