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CAIRO BOOKS's Description
Environmental assessment and management involve the production of scientific
knowledge and its use in decision-making processes. The result is that within
these essentially rational, political assessment frameworks, experts are
creating and applying scientific knowledge for decision and management purposes
that actually have strong ethical and aesthetic dimensions. Yet these rational
political frameworks lack the tools to provide guidance on ethical and
aesthetic issues that affect the wider public. This revolutionary work argues
that ethical and aesthetic dimensions can only be brought into environmental
politics and policies by citizens actively taking a stand on the specific
matters in question. The author draws on Habermas� trisection of rationality as
cognitive-instrumental, moral-practical and aesthetic-expressive, to suggest
that truly effective environmental policy needs to activate all three
approaches and not favour only the rational. To achieve this objective, the
author argues that public participation in environmental policy and assessment
is necessary to counteract the dictatorship of technical and economic
instrumentality in environmental policy - the failure to take ethical and
aesthetic rationalities into account - and, more importantly, how such policy
is applied on the ground to shape our natural and material world.