Law and Public Policy
Session: D15(b) - Workshop - Environmental Politics: Environmental Framing and Discourse II
Date: Jun 1, 2017 | Time: 03:15pm to 04:45pm | Location: VIC-608 (Victoria Building)| iOS / Outlook
Chair/Président: Brendan Boyd (University of Calgary)
Discussant/Commentatrice: Andrea Olive (University of Toronto)
Participants & Authors/Auteurs: Heather Cann
(Purdue University) : Normative Framing and Climate Policy Innovation in State DiscourseAbstract:
This paper investigates the ability of normative issue frames, or conceptualizations of a policy conflict in terms of different norms, to facilitate significant policy innovations that are opposed by vested interests. Building on recently published work on climate policy developments in the early 2000s (Raymond 2016; Skocpol 2013), we explore evidence for the continued influence of new "public benefit" frames that stress the importance of tangible, widely distributed economic or public health benefits for citizens in shaping current state climate and energy policies in response to the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a 2015 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule requiring states to reduce their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from the power sector. The paper’s primary hypothesis is that public benefit framing will be prominent in state political discourse related to the CPP, and will be important for explaining state policy action on the issue. Through content analysis of media coverage of CPP implementation in 47 states and an in-depth case study of a prominent 2015-16 climate and energy policy debate in Illinois, we conclude that public benefit frames have continued to be widespread in these latest climate policy debates, and that they appear likely to have continued political success sparking new climate policy innovations moving forward.
Paper or Poster / Communication ou Présentation visuelle
(Acadia University), Alice Cohen
(Acadia University) : Organizing Resources: Environmental Politics in CanadaAbstract:
This paper develops seeks to understand environmental politics in Canada through the lens of “organizing resources.” “Organizing resources” is used in a dual sense: on the one hand, political actors in Canada have struggled to organize (order) resources (the non-human environment) in particular ways. On the other hand, non-human nature has served as resources to (re)organize the Canadian political economy. The paper synthesizes recent work in critical geography, eco-criticism, and environmental political theory, that has argued – often at a fairly high level of abstraction – against a rigid separation between human society (politics) on the one hand, and non-human nature (environment) on the other. The paper then takes this theoretical framing – that we shouldn’t think of humans as separate from nature – and applies it to a small number of specific areas in Canadian environmental politics: Fisheries, freshwater governance, and oil & gas. All three cases show the imbrications of human and non-human elements, and how Canada's political economy has organized itself in accordance with the resources on which it depends.
(University of Guelph) : The Green Publicity State: Constructing the Green Economy in Michigan and Ontario, 2007-2012Abstract:
The “green economy” has been touted by government as a win-win solution to reducing greenhouse gasses and replacing thousands of manufacturing jobs lost before and during the global financial crisis. Some scholars, however, argue that there is little new or green about policies being rolled out in advanced industrialized states. In the green “publicity state”, political elites engage as much, if not more, in the politics of environmental discourse than in policymaking. In what ways do policies get framed and constrained by underlying neoliberal understandings of the economy and state that then limit the policy options that governments see as possible? Does the policy rhetoric match the policy reality? I examine the policies and rhetoric of renewable energy in Michigan and Ontario under Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) and Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty between 2007 and 2012. First, I conduct a comparative analysis of green economy policies, as well as a sample of social, economic, and fiscal policies that could contribute to greater or less sustainability in the two jurisdictions. These were then categorized in a typology of green economy imaginaries. Second, Michigan State of the State speeches and Ontario Throne and budget speeches were analyzed using Fairclough and Fairclough’s (2012) critical discourse analysis for political argument. It was found that political elites construct imaginaries of the green economy using various argumentative claims in ways that often do not coincide with policies and/or policy outcomes. Furthermore, arguments made by political elites are constrained by the existing economic regime and political institutions. Paper or Poster / Communication ou Présentation visuelle
Panel: How environmental issues are framed and discussed is an important line of inquiry for political scientists, across issue areas. This panel invites papers on discourse analysis, perception, and framing. The focus of these papers is open, with papers anticipated to address multiple theoretical and empirical aspects of framing and discourse, including (but not limited to): strategies of framing; the effects of competing frames; and methodologies for discursive and content analysis.