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The role of discourse and linguistic framing effects in sustaining high carbon energy policy--An accessible introduction


  • Scrase, J. Ivan
  • Ockwell, David G.


This paper seeks to provide an accessible introduction to the relevance to energy policy of a fundamental insight from the policy sciences. This concerns the role that the linguistic framing of policy problems and solutions can play in sustaining the dominance of existing policy positions. The paper introduces a discourse perspective to understanding the policy process and uses it to analyse four central goals pursued in energy policy: access, security, efficiency and environmental acceptability, drawing on examples from UK policy documents. It introduces readers to how, as well as requiring technical and economic solutions, a transition to a low carbon energy system will also require a 'reframing' of energy policy problems and solutions in a way that either connects with, or overrides the powerful discourses that shape energy policy today.

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  • Scrase, J. Ivan & Ockwell, David G., 2010. "The role of discourse and linguistic framing effects in sustaining high carbon energy policy--An accessible introduction," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 2225-2233, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:5:p:2225-2233

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Darcy, 1999. "The Discourse of 'Community' and the Reinvention of Social Housing Policy in Australia," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 36(1), pages 13-26, January.
    2. Patsy Healey, 1999. "Sites, Jobs and Portfolios: Economic Development Discourses in the Planning System," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 36(1), pages 27-42, January.
    3. Harriet Bulkeley, 2000. "Discourse coalitions and the Australian climate change policy network," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 18(6), pages 727-748, December.
    4. Yvonne Rydin, 1999. "Can We Talk Ourselves into Sustainability? The Role of Discourse in the Environmental Policy Process," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 8(4), pages 467-484, November.
    5. David Ockwell, 2008. "‘Opening up’ policy to reflexive appraisal: a role for Q Methodology? A case study of fire management in Cape York, Australia," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 41(4), pages 263-292, December.
    6. Heather Lovell & Harriet Bulkeley & Susan Owens, 2009. "Converging Agendas? Energy and Climate Change Policies in the UK," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 27(1), pages 90-109, February.
    7. Harriet Bulkeley, 2000. "Discourse Coalitions and the Australian Climate Change Policy Network," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 18(6), pages 727-748, December.
    8. Heather Lovell & Harriet Bulkeley & Susan Owens, 2009. "Converging agendas? Energy and climate change policies in the UK," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 27(1), pages 90-109, February.
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    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:295-305 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Endo, Takahiro & Tsuboyama, Yuki & Hara, Yoritoshi, 2016. "Beyond taxation: Discourse around energy policy in Japan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 412-419.
    3. Jakob Skovgaard, 2013. "The Limits of Entrapment: The Negotiations on EU Reduction Targets, 2007–11," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(6), pages 1141-1157, November.
    4. Leipprand, Anna & Flachsland, Christian & Pahle, Michael, 2017. "Advocates or cartographers? Scientific advisors and the narratives of German energy transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 222-236.
    5. Wicker, Pamela & Becken, Susanne, 2013. "Conscientious vs. ambivalent consumers: Do concerns about energy availability and climate change influence consumer behaviour?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 41-48.
    6. Itay Fischhendler & Daniel Nathan & Dror Boymel, 2015. "Marketing Renewable Energy through Geopolitics: Solar Farms in Israel," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 15(2), pages 98-120, May.
    7. Cotton, Matthew & Rattle, Imogen & Van Alstine, James, 2014. "Shale gas policy in the United Kingdom: An argumentative discourse analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 427-438.
    8. Paula Kivimaa & Mikael Hildén & Dave Huitema & Andrew Jordan & Jens Newig, 2015. "Experiments in Climate Governance. Lessons from a Systematic Review of Case Studies in Transition Research," SPRU Working Paper Series 2015-36, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    9. Nilsen, Heidi Rapp & Ellingsen, May-Britt, 2015. "The power of environmental indifference. A critical discourse analysis of a collaboration of tourism firms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 26-33.

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