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Anti-nuclear Movements in Discursive and Political Contexts​: Between Expert Voices and Local Protests
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3095-0790
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Energy policies which maintain and extend nuclear energy are often opposed by anti-nuclear movements. Ambitious plans for developing nuclear energy in Russia, constructing a first nuclear plant in Poland, and lifting the ban on nuclear energy while allowing the replacement of old reactors in Sweden are examples of such energy policies. In contrast to the massive anti-nuclear movements of 1970-1990s, recent anti-nuclear movements are not organized as national protest campaigns. This thesis examines repertoires of anti-nuclear movements in the alleged “Nuclear Renaissance” period.  

Repertoires of anti-nuclear actions are analyzed from the perspective of discursive and political opportunities of anti-nuclear movements. Discursive opportunities are enabled or hindered in the ordering of nuclear energy discourses, making messages and actions of social movements legitimate or illegitimate. While discourses of anti-nuclear movements are complex, official discourses of nuclear energy featuring arguments about profitability, energy security and environmental security in connection to nuclear energy development, resonate more with broader socio-political developments. Ordering of discourses is established in such a way that expert rhetoric becomes a standard approach for discussing nuclear energy, while references to emotions and subjective matters are unacceptable.

Political contexts of anti-nuclear movements provide opportunities for environmental NGOs, one kind of actor in anti-nuclear movements, to pursue nonconfrontational strategies and engage in institutional channels, where they can contribute their expert knowledge. Concurrently, another actor in anti-nuclear movements, local anti-nuclear groups, on the one hand, share argumentative structures with environmental NGOs, and, on the other hand, attempt to mobilize local population and organize local protests. Due to limited opportunities for attention from the national media and focus on local issues, local protests are not featured in the national media, which is crucial for national protest actions.

The differences in repertoires between these two kinds of actors and absence of actors opting for mass engagement provide insight into repertoires of anti-nuclear movements as a whole. This thesis demonstrates how discursive opportunities of social movements, which result from competing discourses of movements and their counter-agents, and political opportunities structure repertoires of actions of these movements.

Abstract [sv]

Energipolitik som upprätthåller och utökar användandet av kärnkraft motarbetas ofta av antikärnkrafts­rörelser. Exempel på sådan energipolitik är de ambitiösa planerna på att utveckla kärnkraft i Ryssland, att bygga ett första kärnkraftverk i Polen, och att häva förbudet mot kärnkraft samt möjliggöra utbyte av gamla reaktorer i Sverige. I motsats till de massiva antikärnkraftsrörelserna under 1970-1990, är de nya rörelserna inte organiserade som nationella protestkampanjer. Denna avhandling undersöker vilka olika handlingssätt antikärnkrafts­rörelserna i den påstådda "Nuclear Renaissance"-perioden använder.

Antikärnkraftsrörelsernas olika sätt att agera analyseras ur diskursiva och politiska möjligheter. Diskurser av antikärnkraftsrörelser är komplexa, när officiella diskurser om kärnkraft möter argument om lönsamhet, energisäkerhet och miljösäkerhet i samband med kärnkraft utveckling, anknyter den mer till en bredare socio-politiska utveckling. Diskurser etableras på ett sådant sätt att expertretorik blir en standardiserad metod för att diskutera kärnkraft, medan hänvisningar till känslor och subjektiva frågor är oacceptabla.

Det politiska sammanhanget ger möjligheter till miljöorganisationer, en typ av aktör inom anti­kärnkrafts­rörelsen, att bedriva nonconfrontational strategier och engagera sig via institutionella kanaler, där de kan bidra med sin sakkunskap. Samtidigt som en annan aktör, lokal antikärnkrafts­grupper, å ena sidan dela argument med miljöorganisationer, men å andra sidan försök att mobilisera lokalbefolkningen och anordna lokala protester. Eftersom lokala protester inte visas i nationella medier får de begränsade möjligheter till medial uppmärksamhet, något som är avgörande för nationella protestaktioner. Skillnaderna i sätt att agera mellan dessa två typer av aktörer och frånvaro av aktörer som väljer massengagemang ger insikt i de olika handlingssätt som används av antikärnkraftsrörelser som helhet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2017. , p. 305
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 131
Keyword [en]
social movements, nuclear energy, discourse, action repertoires, protests, Nuclear Renaissance, Russia, Poland, Sweden
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-31979ISBN: 978-91-87843-81-5 (print)ISBN: 978-91-87843-82-2 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-31979DiVA: diva2:1072360
Public defence
2017-03-10, MB503, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-02-16 Created: 2017-02-08 Last updated: 2017-09-22Bibliographically approved

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