Environmentalism Of, By, and For the Chinese State


Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowships in China Studies – Long-Term


Environmental Studies

Named Award

Long Term named award


This monograph advances the argument that the problem in contemporary China is not the lack of environmental considerations in its street-level bureaucracy, but the omnipresence of environmentalism to the point of banality. The Chinese state is characterized by environmental “plenty”—a systemic overstock of environmental targets, goals, slogans, rules, mandates, projects, institutions, and even values. The banality of environmentalism gives the impression of overwhelming success, but ultimately hollows out the environmental sensibilities of street-level bureaucrats, who instrumentalize environmental enforcement as a means for advancing personal and organizational interests that are decidedly non-environmental.