Understanding Environmental Policy - IEST5500

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

School: School of Humanities and Languages

Course Outline: School of Humanities & Languages

Campus: Sydney

Career: Postgraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3

Enrolment Requirements:

Excluded: HPSC5500

CSS Contribution Charge: 2 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

View course information for previous years.


The course encourages a critical analysis of the policy-making and implementation processes within current and neoliberal modes of governing. It utilises several specific environmental issues and natural resources (water, biodiversity, renewables and non-renewables) as well as 'urban environments' from which the class studies their framing in public debate and by policy-makers. The course would provide an advanced discussion and critique of policy-making and implementation processes at different scales (local, state, national, global) and in different modes of governing (e.g. including the role of corporations, NGOs, individual citizens and other non-governmental entities). As an outcome, participants will gain practical insights into key environmental issues and the capacity to apply this knowledge to environmental policy making and management problems, and to problems arising in planning and design.

The most fundamental aim is to take students beyond literacy in environmental matters to understand how to exercise responsibility for making change. Decision makers need to understand the different interpretations of sustainable development that arise from the divergent world-views, preferences, values and interests of key social actors. At the same time critiques of orthodox approaches to environmental management have become more sophisticated undermining traditional assumptions regarding the human-nature relationship, and challenging environmental managers to review the roles of government, markets and citizens.

The course will introduce you to a conceptual tool kit for analysing and making sense of the contemporary policy process – framed around the notion of ‘interpretive policy analysis’ and 'policy mobilities'. These models will help you to explore the underlying terms that structure policy processes and develop an understanding of the social and economic processes that influence policy change. These models will help you to explore ways of making policy development more transparent and socially robust, and to understand and respond to increasingly globalised transformative processes.
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