Utopian Ideas about Sustainability? The Case of the Chemicals Management in EU

By Oksana Udovyk and Johan Hedren.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 10, 2014 $US5.00

This study examines the EU chemical management regimes with a focus on the treatment of uncertainty. Using current discourses on utopian thought, it criticizes existing practices but also discusses alternative approaches to chemicals management.
In addition to highly discussed management options under condition of uncertainty (such as precautionary, adaptive management and so on), we argue that the management of chemicals might also benefit from introducing “sufficiency” into production.
In a more general sense it means a shift in seeing quality of life as based on a sufficiency of chemicals and not on an abundance of them. The article concludes that although these ideas regarding chemicals management might be very problematic, more integrated and holistic visions of future chemicals and also environmental policies might emerge from consideration utopian thinking in different branches of current economic system.

Keywords: uncertainty, REACH, environment, de-growth, utopian thoughts

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 9, Issue 3, April 2014, pp.47-56. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 370.867KB)).

Oksana Udovyk

PhD Student, Life Science Department, Sodertorn University, Stockholm, Sverige, Sweden

Oksana Udovyk is a doctoral candidate in Water and Environmental Studies at Linköping University based at Södertörn University. Her research interests include uncertainty management, science policy interactions and environmental risk governance of the Baltic Sea.

Johan Hedren

Senior Lecturer, Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University, Sweden

Johan Hedrén is Associate Professor of Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University, engaged in research and teaching from the post-humanist and critical social science perspectives. The central themes of his work are ideologies and discourses concerning the environment and sustainable development, utopian thought concerning the same issues, and the relationship between politics and science. His main theoretical inspiration comes from neo-Marxism and poststructuralism. Together with Björn-Ola Linnér and Karin Bradley (KTH) he has arranged a number of conferences, workshops and seminars about the role and relevance of utopianism for the handling of environmental issues. He is also co-editor of a special issue of Futures on the topic, and most recently he and Karin Bradley have brought together cutting edge research in the field in an edited volume for Routledge titled Green Utopianism: perspectives, politics and micro-practices.