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Part VI Actors, Ch.40 Epistemic Communities

Peter M Haas

From: The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (2nd Edition)

Edited By: Lavanya Rajamani, Jacqueline Peel

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 25 March 2023

Individuals and non-state actors — International environmental law

This chapter begins with a definition and intellectual history of epistemic communities. ‘Epistemic communities’ is a concept developed by ‘soft’ constructivist scholars of international relations concerned with agency. Soft constructivists in general focus on the role of various types of norms, principled beliefs, causal beliefs, and discourses in establishing roles and rules in international relations: that is, determining the identities, interests, and practices that shape the identification of actors in international relations. The chapter then applies this definition to the study of international environmental law and discusses whether or not international lawyers constitute an epistemic community. It concludes with a discussion of some of the recent challenges to the influence of epistemic communities in world politics more broadly, and thus the future of international environmental law.

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