The concept of "epistemic communities"
was developed by Peter Haas (1992) to focus attention on the
communities of "experts" that have grown up in the world of
environmental policies, influential in defining the dimensions
of a problem and proposing solutions (ibid:42-3). He defines
epistemic communities as "transnational networks of knowledge-based
communities that are both politically empowered through their
claims to exercise authoritative knowledge and motivated by
shared causal and principled beliefs" (ibid:41). Though direct
descent is denied, Vogler sees links with the older "neo-functionalist"
view of international organization, particularly in its opposition
between politics and "ecologically sound consensual knowledge"
Environmental issues, in particular, tend to
involve political and social as well as scientific issues. Keith
Clayton (1995:128) argues "The environmental sciences exist
in a world of power, prejudice, wishful thinking and unjustified
alarm." O'Riordan (1995:112) comments: "One can see very quickly
how science can be ambushed for ideological and political purposes."