Environmental governance on the street: towards an expanded research agenda on street-level bureaucrats

Kirsty Holstead*, Mikkel Funder, Caroline Upton

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Research on environmental governance would benefit from greater attention to the practices, agency and subjectivities of the frontline civil servants who implement and shape environmental policies and interventions on the ground. These actors conduct the everyday work of bringing global agreements and state policies into being. In doing so, they influence how citizens experience the state and environmental governance. In this review paper, we provide a brief overview of existing literature on ‘street-level bureaucrats’ (SLBs). We then suggest three key research areas through which insights into the role of SLBs in environmental governance could be further developed, including (i) the nature of SLBs agency and practice as they enact global and national environmental agendas, (ii) the subjectivities of SLBs and how they affect environmental governance and (iii) the outcomes of the activities of SLBs on state-citizen relations. This research agenda has explanatory power in understanding existing and desired environmental governance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number100108
    Number of pages5
    JournalEarth System Governance
    Early online date3 Jun 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


    • Street-level bureaucrats
    • Environmental governance
    • Fontline work
    • Civil servants
    • Agency
    • Practice


    Dive into the research topics of 'Environmental governance on the street: towards an expanded research agenda on street-level bureaucrats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this