Teaching

Current Courses

Prof. Dr. Jens Newig

Basics of Sustainable Development


The course provide lectures on a wide variety of sustainability topics that connect with the focus of each of the seminars, including biodiversity conservation and food security, sustainable consumption and governance for sustainability. Thus the course covers theory, approaches and tools relating to sustainability, including the ecological, social and governance realms. By the end of the course you will understand the basics for sustainability and will get basic knowledge of the projects conducted in the three seminars of this minor.

Ziel: To introduce students to:

i) an overview of how sustainability has been and is being addressed in the fields of biodiversity conservation, sustainable consumption and governance;

ii) knowledge and ways of thinking with which to understand these three complementary approaches to move towards sustainability;

iii) to thereby provide a diverse background to the seminars of the Sustainability Minor.

Sorgfaltsplichten für Unternehmen in globalen Lieferketten: Governance-Perspektiven


Ist es wirksam und sinnvoll, wenn Staaten rechtlich verbindliche Sorgfaltspflichten für heimische Unternehmen festschreiben, um die menschen- und umweltschädlichen Auswirkungen von Produktionsprozessen in globalen Wertschöpfungsketten zu verringern? Das Projektseminar widmet sich dem Phänomen nationaler Lieferkettengesetze, wobei einige bereits auf europäischer Ebene erlassen, andere Vorhaben sich noch im Gesetzgebungsprozess befinden. Neben einem rechtsvergleichenden Blick auf die verschiedenen Regulierungsansätze, fragen wir in dem Projektseminar auch nach der Effektivität dieser Gesetze, nach den Interaktionseffekten mit anderen Policies und Regulierungen und der Vereinbarkeit mit nationalen und internationalen Rechtsregimen und -ebenen. Dabei sollen die Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer unterschiedliche Perspektiven kennenlernen und einnehmen, etwa heimischer und ausländischer Unternehmen, der Verbraucher, NGOs, möglicherweise nachteilig betroffener Staaten und der dortigen Bevölkerung und Lieferkettengesetze aus diesen verschiedenen Blickwinkeln untersuchen und beurteilen.

Ziel: Studierende erlernen anhand einer spezifischen komplexen globalen Herausforderung Regulierungsfragen aus verschiedenen Perspektiven der Governance sowie der rechtswissenschaftlichen Forschung zu analysieren, zu evaluieren und auf eine konkrete Fragestellung anzuwenden.

Environmental and Sustainability Governance


If we want to understand, analyse and effectively address mounting problems of environmental sustainability, we need to learn about how public and private actors can be systemically incentivised, coordinated or steered towards collective actions that benefit the environment and a sustainable development. We need to learn how environmental and sustainability governance “works”, and which leverage points exist in order to achieve environmental sustainability through public governance. In this seminar, we will get to know various governance approaches that can be applied to analyse and address certain sustainability-related problems at different scales, from local to international. We will discuss state-based public policy-making; governing the commons through local collective action; governance of global telecoupling; private and hybrid governance, international environmental regimes; participatory and collaborative governance; risk governance; evidence-informed governance; learning and adaptive governance, and multi-level and scale-adapted governance.

How can we learn best about these various approaches and perspectives on environmental and sustainability governance? In past years, we have taught these approaches by drawing on scientific publications that inform or propagate a certain governance approach, coupled with empirical cases to illustrate how this approach plays out in practice. However, we found many of these papers, being academic publications and not teaching material, to rather narrowly focus on particular governance aspects, while disregarding the more holistic governance settings.

With this seminar, we would like to move a step forward towards developing what exists for all established fields of study: a textbook.

We invite you to join us in this project through a teaching experiment: While we will still be dealing with conceptual papers and empirical case studies, we plan to jointly develop ideas and initial contents for a potential future textbook on environmental and sustainability governance. We believe that when developing new teaching material, students’ perspectives and contributions are not only valuable, but key for this endeavour to be successful.

In the first seminar sessions, we will give several lecture-esque introductions to environmental and sustainability governance, including specific governance approaches, and involving thorough discussions in class. In parallel, we will plan how a textbook on environmental and sustainability governance could look like, how the book and individual chapters should be structured, which contents and didactic elements should be included, etc. This is followed by a role-play called the “Melbourne Water Game”, where students collaborate in a real-world interdisciplinary decision-making case, illustrating the complexity of environmental and sustainability governance. In the remainder of the course, (teams of) students will lead topical sessions on individual governance approaches. These will be interspersed with occasional case analysis sessions where we will apply the approaches to current case studies. In the topical sessions, we will pay special attention to didactics, discussing how topics could be presented as a textbook chapter.

Ziel: In this seminar, you will get to know essential approaches of governance for environmental sustainability. You will learn how to critically analyse problems of and needs for environmental and sustainability governance from various conceptual perspectives, and how possible governance solutions to specific empirical cases might look like. By co-developing ideas for a future textbook, you will be intensively engaged both in the content and applications of environmental and sustainability governance. You will help identify those key governance challenges, puzzles and solutions that are worth spelling out for teaching future generations of sustainability science students.

Moreover, you will train your analytical and language skills by reading various conceptual and empirical scientific texts, identifying key content and preparing these in an accessible way for a student audience. Drawing on your creativity and didactical competences, you improve your oral and written presentation skills.

This project-like seminar is an experiment. We believe it will be a lot of fun and worth the effort of everyone involved.

Participatory governance and sustainability - research perspectives


This year’s topic: Mini-publics – Involving citizens in political decision-making through random selection and deliberative processes

In this project-oriented seminar we will research in what way so-called “mini-publics” as democratic innovations have been successful in furthering fair, legitimate and sustainable policy-making as an alternative to both conventional policy-making and standard forms of citizen participation.

Citizen participation is deemed essential in democratic systems for legitimate and effective political decision-making. However, direct democracy such as public referenda, and public votes in general, while conceived as a counterpart to (potentially corrupt) elite decision-making, have also been subject to populist capture (many name Brexit as an example). Given complex and often technical political issues, many citizens remain “rationally ignorant”, that is, they do not deem it worthwhile to familiarize themselves with complex political matters. On the other hand, conventional citizen participation such as public hearings or workshops typically attracts an unbalanced set of participants, tending to favour extreme opinions and those who can actually afford to participate.

For some time, democratic theorists have been propagating so-called “mini-publics” as a way to combine balanced and just citizen participation with truly knowledgeable and deliberative decision-making. Mini-publics include formats such as citizen juries, planning cells, deliberative opinion polls or citizen assemblies, covering governance levels from urban quarters to whole nation states. What these formats have in common is that in each case a number of randomly selected citizens (broadly representative in age, gender, education level etc.) are invited to participate in a shorter or longer decision-making process. In a moderated process, citizens are encouraged to bring to the fore all arguments, hear experts, and discuss the facts and opinions relevant to decision-making, in order to present a decision proposal at the end.

While many individual cases – mostly pilots – of mini-publics have been documented in the academic literature, there is no conclusive evidence on whether they actually succeed to produce fair, legitimate and competent decisions, furthering environmental protection and sustainability. The goal of this project-oriented seminar is, therefore, to map and synthesize the available literature and to draw general conclusions on how, and under what circumstances mini-publics “succeed”. In which countries have mini-publics been mostly implemented? Did they meet standards of fair and competent processes? What kind of decisions do they produce? In what way do they differ from conventional political-administrative decision-making? Were decisions broadly accepted? Potentially, this research could lead to a paper manuscript to be submitted to an academic journal.

Ziel: This course aims to a) provide students with in-depth knowledge of mini-publics, and b) enable students to conduct a small collaborative research project on a specific research question.

The seminar is set up as a collaborative research project: Students will receive an in-depth introduction to the mini-publics as a form of “democratic innovation”. Students will conduct thorough literature search and analysis to map and synthesize existing literature on mini-publics and their contribution to environmental sustainability. The exam consists of both oral presentation of reserach results (50%) and a written account (50%).

Concepts of Sustainability Governance


Dieses Auftaktseminar zum Minor-Strang „Governance“ bietet eine Einführung in Konzepte und Instrumente der Umwelt- und Nachhaltigkeitsgovernance. Mögliche Themen umfassen: partizipative und kollaborative Governance; evidenzbasierte Governance und die Rolle von Governance-Lernen; Mehrebenengovernance von der kommunalen bis zur internationalen Entscheidungsebene; die Rolle der Privatwirtschaft und von Governance-Netzwerken; Governance von Nachhaltigkeitstransformation. Politik- und rechtswissenschaftliche Perspektiven ergänzen sich, um der Frage nachzugehen: Welche Governance-Ansätze erlauben es, Umwelt- und Nachhaltigkeitsprobleme auf effektive und legitime Weise zu adressieren? Die Umsetzung von Governance-Ansätzen wird anhand konkreter Fallbeispiele aus ausgewählten Problemfeldern (z.B. Klimawandel, Biodiversität, Gewässerschutz) illustriert. Rollenspiele machen die zentralen Problematiken bei der Governance von Nachhaltigkeitsproblemen erfahrbar.

Ziel: Das Seminar vermittelt ein grundlegendes Verständnis davon, wie politisch-rechtliche Systeme, auch unter Einbeziehung nicht-staatlicher Akteure, komplexe Umwelt- und Nachhaltigkeitsprobleme angehen. Die Studierenden lernen, unterschiedliche Governance-Instrumente einzuordnen und kritisch zu bewerten.

Dr. Michael Rose

Politics of Sustainability


Häufig hört man den Vorwurf, Politik in modernen Demokratien würde nur auf kurzfristige Erfolge und die egoistischen Interessen der Wähler_innen und mächtiger Lobbys schauen. Demgegenüber steht die Forderung nach mehr Nachhaltigkeit. Aber wie kann Politik nachhaltiger werden? Wie versuchen unsere politischen Systeme, dafür Sorge zu tragen, dass politische Entscheidungen heute nicht unangemessen zu Lasten der zukünftigen Generationen, der Umwelt und der globalen sozialen Gerechtigkeit gehen?

Um unterschiedliche Aspekte dieser Fragen und möglicher Antworten zu beleuchten, kommen nachhaltigkeitswissenschaftliche, ökonomische, philosophische und vor allem politikwissenschaftliche Perspektiven zum Tragen. Wir lesen und diskutieren u.a. über den Nachhaltigkeitsbegriff, Nachhaltigkeitsindikatoren, Gerechtigkeit, Langzeitverantwortung, Demokratietheorie und Governance einer Politik der Nachhaltigkeit. Außerdem analysieren wir die Praxis einer Politik der Nachhaltigkeit. Anhand von Fallstudien untersuchen wir Institutionen und Instrumente auf verschiedenen politischen Ebenen (international bis kommunal), wie bspw. diverse politische Nachhaltigkeitsgremien und Nachhaltigkeitsstrategien. Auch die Entwicklung und Diskussion von Reformvorschlägen kommt nicht zu kurz.

Ziel: Als Teilnehmende bereiten Sie sich anhand der deutsch- und englischsprachigen Pflichtlektüre gründlich auf die Sitzungen vor und bringen Ihr Wissen in Diskussionen, Gruppenarbeiten und Präsentationen ein. Sie erlangen im Laufe des Seminars einen Überblick über die Gründe, Möglichkeiten, Praktiken, Herausforderungen und Grenzen einer Politik der Nachhaltigkeit. Dabei erhalten Sie auch neue Einblicke in die Funktionsweise demokratischer Politik und politischer (Selbst-)Steuerung. Sie lernen, Probleme, Argumente und Fallbeispiele aus verschiedenen Perspektiven zu betrachten und sich diskursiv eine fundierte Meinung zu bilden. Sie üben sich darin, Texte verschiedener Disziplinen zu lesen, zu verstehen und kritisch zu reflektieren. Sie lernen, zentrale Inhalte aus verschiedenen Quellen heraus- und aufzuarbeiten, eigene Schwerpunkte zu setzen und diese verständlich zu präsentieren. Darüber hinaus trainieren Sie, theoretische Perspektiven und Argumente auf empirische Fälle anzuwenden und Gruppendiskussionen zu moderieren.

Environmental and Sustainability Governance


If we want to understand, analyse and effectively address mounting problems of environmental sustainability, we need to learn about how public and private actors can be systemically incentivised, coordinated or steered towards collective actions that benefit the environment and a sustainable development. We need to learn how environmental and sustainability governance “works”, and which leverage points exist in order to achieve environmental sustainability through public governance. In this seminar, we will get to know various governance approaches that can be applied to analyse and address certain sustainability-related problems at different scales, from local to international. We will discuss state-based public policy-making; governing the commons through local collective action; governance of global telecoupling; private and hybrid governance, international environmental regimes; participatory and collaborative governance; risk governance; evidence-informed governance; learning and adaptive governance, and multi-level and scale-adapted governance.

How can we learn best about these various approaches and perspectives on environmental and sustainability governance? In past years, we have taught these approaches by drawing on scientific publications that inform or propagate a certain governance approach, coupled with empirical cases to illustrate how this approach plays out in practice. However, we found many of these papers, being academic publications and not teaching material, to rather narrowly focus on particular governance aspects, while disregarding the more holistic governance settings.

With this seminar, we would like to move a step forward towards developing what exists for all established fields of study: a textbook.

We invite you to join us in this project through a teaching experiment: While we will still be dealing with conceptual papers and empirical case studies, we plan to jointly develop ideas and initial contents for a potential future textbook on environmental and sustainability governance. We believe that when developing new teaching material, students’ perspectives and contributions are not only valuable, but key for this endeavour to be successful.

In the first seminar sessions, we will give several lecture-esque introductions to environmental and sustainability governance, including specific governance approaches, and involving thorough discussions in class. In parallel, we will plan how a textbook on environmental and sustainability governance could look like, how the book and individual chapters should be structured, which contents and didactic elements should be included, etc. This is followed by a role-play called the “Melbourne Water Game”, where students collaborate in a real-world interdisciplinary decision-making case, illustrating the complexity of environmental and sustainability governance. In the remainder of the course, (teams of) students will lead topical sessions on individual governance approaches. These will be interspersed with occasional case analysis sessions where we will apply the approaches to current case studies. In the topical sessions, we will pay special attention to didactics, discussing how topics could be presented as a textbook chapter.

Ziel: In this seminar, you will get to know essential approaches of governance for environmental sustainability. You will learn how to critically analyse problems of and needs for environmental and sustainability governance from various conceptual perspectives, and how possible governance solutions to specific empirical cases might look like. By co-developing ideas for a future textbook, you will be intensively engaged both in the content and applications of environmental and sustainability governance. You will help identify those key governance challenges, puzzles and solutions that are worth spelling out for teaching future generations of sustainability science students.

Moreover, you will train your analytical and language skills by reading various conceptual and empirical scientific texts, identifying key content and preparing these in an accessible way for a student audience. Drawing on your creativity and didactical competences, you improve your oral and written presentation skills.

This project-like seminar is an experiment. We believe it will be a lot of fun and worth the effort of everyone involved.

Further information about courses you will find the academic portal myStudy.