Information, Technology, and Digitalization in China’s Environmental Governance, Introduction to Special Issue
Genia Kostka, Xuehua Zhang, Kyoung Shin – 2020
Research on the relationship between information, technology, and environmental governance in the current Information Age has gained momentum in recent years. Nevertheless, much theoretical, empirical, and normative issues remain seriously under-explored. Existing studies also tend to be predominantly based on contexts, experiences, and lessons in advanced democratic societies. What the rapid developments in new information technologies, data, and information networks might mean for environmental politics and governance in non-democratic contexts remains even more elusive. This special issue brings together some of the latest research in the context of contemporary China to shed light on some of these fundamental issues. We argue that the role of information has evolved over time as dominant approaches to environmental regulation have shifted. Yet, findings in this special issue show that how it has manifested in China thus far has been anything but straightforward. While a few parallels can be drawn between advanced democratic countries and China, many of the predictions made about the effects of data and information technologies have not been borne out in China. We raise several questions as a fruitful avenue for further research.