Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN12_08: Environmental Justice
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Luísa Schmidt, University of Lisbon
Location: BS.G.36
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road


Enacting Hope: Transition Narratives in the Climate Justice Movement.

Ewoud Vandepitte

Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium

Transition Narratives (TN) envision pathways for sustainability transformations. They identify problems, actors, actions and socio-technical future imaginaries. While identifying different TNs, Luederitz and collegues (2017) propose to bridge them to facilitate co-learning between TNs, rather than insisting on a singular narrative. However this research strand has thus far left aside to investigate the climate justice movement (CJM).

As this movement increasingly gains civic support, we propose to study TN in CJM, and use this analysis to gain sociological understanding in the dynamics of hope. We theorize TNs as potential carriers of hope: when symbolically enacted, they can provide motivation and envisioning of pathways for transformation. We conceive the use of TN in CJM as a non-linear strategy of anticipating ‘better futures’ via the identification of ‘not-yet-realized’ possibilities in a non-synchronic environment. Based on ethnographic research at two CJM – the German anti-coal movement, and Belgian climate justice movement – we explore how multiple TN are enacted and how they shape hope. Specifically, we identify a ‘blockadia’ narrative that aims at disrupting fossil fuel infrastructure (Vandepitte, Vandermoere, & hustinx, 2019) and a ‘just transition’ narrative that aims to gain workers support. Both can be coupled in a climate-justice metanarrative.

Luederitz, C., Abson, D., J., Audet, R., & Lang, D., J. (2017). Many pathways toward sustainability: not conflict but co-learning between transition narratives. sustain sci, 12, 393-407. doi:10.1007/s11625-016-0414-0

Vandepitte, E., Vandermoere, F., & hustinx, L. (2019). Civil Anarchizing for the Common Good: Culturally Patterned Politics of Legitimacy in the Climate Justice Movement. voluntas, 1-15.

Energy Transition, Climate Change and the Portuguese Public: Insights from an Energy Justice Lens

Ana Horta, Luísa Schmidt, João Carlos Sousa

University of Lisbon, Portugal

Public engagement has been considered key to sustainable energy transitions and action to tackle climate change, as effective policy strategies require public support and acceptance. However, public perspectives on the challenges of climate change and energy transition still need to be better explored. Although many surveys have shown high levels of concern about climate change and broad support for renewable energy technologies in countries around the world, effective public engagement should not be taken for granted. Specific sociopolitical contexts, infrastructures and practices, among other factors, may condition the acceptance and adoption of changes. In this paper we highlight energy justice as a relevant framework to understand issues that may arise as forms of resistance to energy transitions and climate policies, as well as to point out that such changes may aggravate poverty, forms of inequity, vulnerability and lack of trust. We do this by analyzing data from the latest edition of the European Social Survey. We focus on the case of Portugal since results have shown the highest levels of concern about climate change among 23 countries, but on the other side, there is a clear divide between people with low income and the more educated and well-off. This divide reflects significant differences in support for energy-related changes. The paper explores these results and provides an in-depth analysis of the specific national context in order to contribute to cross-national research.

Nature’s Neoliberalisation and Accumulation by Dispossession in Karaburun Peninsula, Turkey

Yağmur Özcan Cive, Adile Arslan Avar

Izmir Institute of Technology, Turkey

This presentation elaborates on nature’s neoliberalisaiton and accumulation by dispossesion in Karaburun Peninsula, Izmir, Turkey. Neoliberalisation is defined by privatisation (that is, the use and property rights of natural resources, which were not private properties, assigned to firms or individuals), marketisation (that is, previously unpriced natural resources, which were kept out of market mechanisms, are subjected to market mechanisms), deregulation (that is, the regulatory restructuring of state in a way of limiting its interference in social reproduction and environmental sphere, thus rendering them commodification), and reregulation (that is, setting state regulatory frameworks to promote further privatisation and marketisation of social and environmental spheres). By the 2000s, nature’s neoliberalization in Karaburun Peninsula begins by the way of allocation or leasing forests, natural protection areas, pastures and meadows to private corporations for industrial olive production, and coastal waters for commercial fisheries at the expense of local people and nature. These were the first steps in a process of extended neoliberalization of nature where commodification and privatisation began to spread aggressively across the once pastoral geographies of the Peninsula. This process runs rampant owing to wind power generation infrastructures. Not only were pastures, forests, but also private properties of peasants expropriated customarily or urgently and they were encompassed into capital accumulation. Nature’s neoliberalisation goes along with enclosure of common resources, which were communally used by local people for making their lives. Goat breeding almost ended because pastures have been narrowed down dramatically. Hence, nature’s neoliberalisation meant dispossesion of local people.