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Environmental Values

Concepts of Nature as Communicative Devices: The Case of Dutch Nature Policy

Jozef Keulartz, Henny van der Windt and Jacques Swart

Environmental Values 13(2004): 81-99. doi: 10.3197/096327104772444785

The recent widespread shift in governance from the state to the market and to civil society, in combination with the simultaneous shift from the national level to supra-national and sub-national levels has led to a significant increase in the numbers of public and private players in nature policy. This in turn has increased the need for a common vocabulary to articulate and communicate views and values concerning nature among various actors acting on different administrative levels. In this article, we will examine the role of concepts of nature as communicative devices in public debates and political decision-making. We try to show that the now dominant functionalist approach to concepts of nature, due to its focus on interests, threatens to narrow public and political communications to purely strategic negotiations. Instead of this functionalist approach we put forward a structuralist approach, which focuses not on interests but on values.

KEYWORDS: Concepts of nature, nature policy, multi-level governance, pluralism

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Ecological Restoration, Environmentalism and the Dutch Politics of 'New Nature'.Hein-Anton van der Heijden

Traumatic Natures of the Swamp: Concepts of Nature in the Romanian Danube Delta. Kristof van Assche, Sandra Bell and Petruta Tempau

Naturalness or Biodiversity: Negotiating the Dilemma of Intervention in Swedish Protected Area Management. Anders Steinwall

Pushing the Radical Nature Development Policy Concept in the Netherlands: An Agency Perspective. Simon Verduijn, Huub Ploegmakers, Sander Meijerink and Pieter Leroy

New Nature in Old Landscapes: Some Dutch Examples of the Relation Between History, Heritage and Ecological Restoration.Hans Renes

This article is available online (PDF format) from Ingenta Journals. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values. Reprints of this article can be ordered from ingenta or the British Library

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