Katarina Hovden

Katarina Hovden

Enrolled PhD student

PhD Fellow (2017-2021), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen

Young Professional (2018-), Earth-centred Law, United Nations Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network

Research Fellow (2018-), Earth System Governance Project

Member (2017-), Ecological Law and Governance Association

Current research


The rights of Nature is about worlds, not (only) rights: Illuminating the metaphysical confrontations in European initiatives for the rights of Nature

The rights of Nature movement posits that more-than-human beings, ecosystems, and Nature as such are alive, have agency, purpose, subjective needs and interests (‘voices’), and that they matter to themselves. This project evaluates the extent to which these ‘rights of Nature worlds’ are reflected in European legal initiatives for rights of Nature laws, i.e. the extent to which these metaphysical positions are translated into the legal initiatives themselves. European legal initiatives for the rights of Nature interact and to varying degrees seek to co-exist with mainstream/dominant laws and legal structures, and therefore confront and meet the underlying metaphysical and ethical understanding of Nature embedded in mainstream laws and structures. That is, a mechanistic understanding of Nature and a philosophical and ethical 'logic' concerning human exceptionalism. To that end, the objective of this research is to: Evaluate the extent to which European initiatives for the rights of Nature give space to, affirm, and protect the agencies and voices of more-than-humans and Nature, as well as the extent to which they decentre and resituate the human in metaphysical and ethical terms. 


Supervisor: Professor Helle Krunke

Co-supervisor: Professor Louis Kotzé

Primary fields of research

  • Rights of Nature
  • Ecological jurisprudence / Earth jurisprudence
  • Legal rights
  • Ontological turn
  • Multispecies perspectives
  • Non-human agency

ID: 183888108