Law, the environment and narrative storytelling

Authored by: Angus Nurse

Routledge Handbook of Socio-Legal Theory and Methods

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138592902
eBook ISBN: 9780429952814
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the extent to which critical understanding of environmental protection and the development of environmental enforcement policy is enhanced by socio-legal method, particularly narrative storytelling. Narrative method is well established as a means through which contested stories can be analysed and understood within adversarial justice systems. Narratives reveal the complexity of socially constructed environmental protection and offending as being regulatory or administrative in nature and outside mainstream criminal justice responses. This chapter’s analysis of state-level environmental wrongdoing employs narrative storytelling by way of case study examination of air quality litigation. The analysis illustrates contesting narratives of not only the legal framework within which environmental protection takes place, but also the involvement of civil society as enforcers and policymakers.

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