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The Role of Translation in Transnational Governance

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One of the greatest challenges facing environmental governance is the interaction between science and governance. Translation is proposed as a means to analyze these interactions. To achieve some consensus on the quality of translations, norms and criteria must be developed in order to guide translation, namely through linkage institutions that promote productive misreadings of scientific information by governance authorities and permit judgments regarding the quality and utility of these misreadings. Given the multiplicity of sites – state and non-state – that have access to scientific and other environmentally relevant information, the structures and processes through which translation of scientific knowledge takes place will be subject to ongoing contestation. Nevertheless, the acknowledgment that scientific knowledge must be interpreted and its meaning reconstituted within governance systems may foster a healthier division of labor between science and governance, one in which political and legal authorities assume their responsibility to make judgments and decisions.

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and School of Environment, McGill University,


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