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Expertise, democracy and environmental regulation. A comparative study

About this project

Project information

Project status



Rolf Lidskog

Research subject

Today there is increased tension between professional expertise and democratic governance. This project focuses on the conditions, prerequisites, and possibilities for reconciling the two goals of science-based environmental regulation and democratic decision-making. To what extent and in what ways is it possible to create environmental regulation that is both scientifically sound and democratically inclusive, i.e. that is based on the use of expert knowledge but also open for public influence? Guiding research questions are: how and to what extent are citizens and science respectively given institutional opportunities to be included in the decisional process and what roles do they actually possess? How do involved decision-makers assess the importance of public inclusion and scientific assessment for environmental regulation? What similarities and differences are possible to trace between the investigated environmental issues, as well as between different levels of decision-making?

Four regulatory areas are investigated: climate change, air pollution, nuclear waste, and biodiversity. The empirical material consists mainly of written documents: proceedings and communications from scientific workshops and documents describing the structure, organization, and aim of the science-policy-citizen interface. Interviews are conducted with representatives and key-persons responsible for the different regulatory areas (mainly from public agencies, but to some extent expert bodies and environmental NGOs).



  • Göran Sundqvist, Oslo universitet