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Sustainable Development on Colonised Land: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Sustainability of Wind-Power
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Sustainable development is major post of global and national political agendas, and notions of sustainability permeate whole societies. Sweden is heavily influenced by sustainable development which can be exemplified by the ambitious goal of fossil-free energy and the current phase of rapid wind-power developments. In the name of sustainability many of these wind-power turbines and parks are now placed in the northern regions of the country, but whether it is sustainable is questionable. The northern region is a colonised territory, and the colonial relations between the indigenous Sámi people and the non-indigenous population remains an unresolved area. It is a cause of grievance and continuous conflict over land-use in the north – by of which wind-power developments are a part of. Therefore, this thesis examine the discursive construct of sustainability, in terms of content and underlying power relations, when applied to wind-power in four north Swedish newspapers between 2009 and 2016.

The thesis use discourse and media-sociological theories in order to understand the role of media texts in the social construction of knowledge and how knowledge is shaped by social realities and shaping the social interpretation of reality. To study discourses a qualitative method based on critical discourse analysis is employed with the aim of investigating contextual meaning derived from the relationship between the text and the surrounding society. The empirical material is subject to an inductive analysis that has much in common with a grounded theory approach, but which involves some deductive analytical elements derived from theory and previous research.

The findings of this thesis is that there is no singular discursive construct of sustainability, but rather a multiplicity of perspectives that together form a general representation of how sustainability is perceived when applied to wind-power. However, the discourses were dominated by non-indigenous actors with a national perspective - such as political parties, government actors and the wind-power industry. They portrayed sustainability and wind-power as environmentally benign economic growth leading to societal development, but in doing so experiences of marginalisation, and sustainability perspectives of peripheral groups, were made invisible. The study did find indications of change in the discourses from 2012 in the sense that the perspective of dominant actors was increasingly challenged by Sámi reindeer herders and rural populations, but the discursive and practical impact of this change remains uncertain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 56 p.
Series
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 2017/16
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development, Critical Discourse Analysis, Colonialism, Sámi, Indigenous, Centre-Periphery
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-324544OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-324544DiVA: diva2:1110324
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
Presentation
2017-05-31, Hamberg, Villavägen 16, 752 36 UPPSALA, Uppsala, 10:10 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-06-16 Created: 2017-06-15 Last updated: 2017-06-16Bibliographically approved

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