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Bioenergy as an Empty Signifier
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research. Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8110-4538
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2016 (English)In: Review of Radical Political Economics, ISSN 1552-8502, Vol. 48, no 2, 235-251 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article provides insight into the contemporary international bioenergy debate and scrutinizes how the idea of biofuel production as a win-win-win solution to energy insecurity, climate change, and agricultural stagnation came into being, what discursive forces bind such a conceptualization, and where dislocations arise. Based on critical assumptions of discourse theory developed by Laclau and Mouffe, the analysis explores assessments, reports, policy papers, and other central documents from three influential international organizations—the International Energy Agency, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization—that provide an entry point to the global debate on biofuels. We show that the bioenergy concept occupies specific positions and conveys different meanings within the three overlapping discourses of energy, climate, and agriculture. These three discursive areas are further “sutured” around the notion of biofuel production, where a hegemonic thread of the capitalist market economics, fixated on economic growth and presupposing the necessity of cost-effectiveness, results in internal contradictions and dislocations within the win-win-win conceptualization, emptying bioenergy of any content.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2016. Vol. 48, no 2, 235-251 p.
Keyword [en]
bioenergy, biofuels, debate, discourse, international organizations, hegemony
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-121024DOI: 10.1177/0486613415591804ISI: 000378765000003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-121024DiVA: diva2:850936
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2007-671
Available from: 2015-09-02 Created: 2015-09-02 Last updated: 2016-07-31

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Kuchler, MagdalenaHedrén, Johan
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