Quotation Hausknost, Daniel. 2014. Decision, choice, solution: ‘agentic deadlock’ in environmental politics. Environmental Politics 23 (3), 357-375.




The combined challenges of climate change and resource depletion demand a rapid socio-ecological transition on a global scale. However, environmental politics in liberal democracies is caught in an ‘agentic deadlock’ inhibiting the implementation of effective transformative measures. I offer a conceptual framework for the analysis of this agentic deadlock and its structural root-causes, building on the analytic distinction between three ‘agentic operators’ – decision, choice, and solution – which connects the analysis of agency with the analysis of structural constraints in liberal democracies, enabling us to better understand why agency channelled through the market or institutions of administrative rationality generates very different outcomes than agency channelled through institutions of collective decision-making. While market (choice) and administrative rationality (solution) approaches are more in line with the specific needs of liberal-democratic regime stabilisation, decision-centred approaches have greater transformative potential. The powerful but potentially disruptive agentic operator ‘decision’ is systematically underemployed due to the system’s prioritisation of internal integrity, while the operators ‘choice’ and ‘solution’ are overburdened with transformative tasks they are ill-equipped to fulfil. This imbalance must be corrected if the transition towards sustainability is to be successful.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Environmental Politics
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title Decision, choice, solution: `agentic deadlock┬┐ in environmental politics
Volume 23
Number 3
Year 2014
Page from 357
Page to 375
Reviewed? Y
URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2013.874138
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2013.874138


Hausknost, Daniel (Details)
Institute for Social Change and Sustainability IN (Details)
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