This course aims to introduce the tools, approaches and institutions that govern political decision-making in environmental conservation and natural resource management. The course starts with an overview of global environmental issues of concern to all humanity and their impact on people’s life. Students further explore the international and national policy frameworks that focus on environmental issues and zero in on their solutions. Students learn about the history of environmental policy and politics in the US, Europe (and particularly the EU), former Soviet Union and post-Soviet space; emergence and evolution of green parties, social movements and groups. Armenia’s international obligations in the environmental sector are presented to students.

This course analyses the inter-related concepts of civil society and social capital and explains their prominence in current social science both from a theoretical and an empirical perspective. As a fist building block, the course material includes relevant works of major social theorists, sociologists and political scientists such as Alexis de Tocqueville, James Coleman, Robert Putnam and Francis Fukuyama. The course then makes a transition from theoretical concepts to empirical studies of civil society and social capital and discusses a variety of approaches and main findings in this field. The last part of the course is dedicated to applying the concepts and the approaches to the Armenian reality. The course is envisioned as a seminar with active student participation in class discussions.