9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN12 Environment and Society

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Environment Citizenship Building I, Audit├│rio J.J. Laginha

Environmental policies and citizens┬┤ participation in Spain

Citizen participation is often presented as a necessary part of the process of defining and managing environmental policies. In fact, it is generally regulated in a variety of ways that affect people?s rights to enquire, request and receive information. This paper examines three aspects of this issue within the context of Spain: the legal and political limits of citizen participation rights, showing their inferior position in relation to conventional political participation; specific examples of citizen involvement in environmental conflicts, which operates by means that are often outside the regulated channels; and the social functions of requests for regulated participation, which indicate a remarkably contradictory situation. In actual fact, this participation takes very different forms, sometimes going through the channels defined by governments, though often consciously ignoring or questioning them. To ensure a sufficiently comprehensive analytical approach, it should be included a conflict sociological view.