Disorderly Deliberation? Generative Dynamics of Global Climate Justice

James Goodman


Theorisations of global governance invariably conceive of it as bringing order to disorder, whether by increasing the ‘density’ of interstate society, or by expressing the leverage of global civil society. This paper seeks to invert the frame, and to take seriously the active disordering of governance, as a generative challenge, that creates new justice claims, and opens-up new fields of public deliberation. Global climate governance is a particularly powerful context in which to track these dynamics. Climate change imposes its own pace of policy reform, forcing new imperatives; it also imposes its own remarkable scope, in terms of global reach and all-encompassing depth. The paper seeks-out generative disjunctures, where existing justice principles that underpin climate governance are challenged, disestablished, and reordered. The paper explores these themes as a way of mapping contending and conflicting trajectories in the development of climate justice as a principle of governance. The disordering effects of climate governance, the social and political forces that arise out of them and their roles in producing contender principles and practices are highlighted. We may then arrive at a conceptualization of climate governance as a necessarily disorderly process, which addresses cumulative and unanticipated challenges of climate change through successive reorientations in its modus operandi. As such, climate governance may be enabled to proceed through and beyond immediate accommodations, to offer new possibilities grounded in new rules of the game that widen realms of engagement and more effectively apprehend the challenges posed.


Climate Change, Global Climate Governance, Social Movements, Reflexivity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/portal.v8i3.1756