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A clear case of 'doublespeak': the Swedish governmental SEA implementation discourse


  • Tuija Hilding-Rydevik
  • Ann Åkerskog


Discourse serves as a fundamental prerequisite for human action - as is displayed by the implementation in Swedish local spatial planning of the EU 'Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive' which forms the focus of this paper. The national Swedish SEA policy discourse, following from the EU Directive, presents a clear case of 'doublespeak'. The major mobilising metaphor emerging from the discourse analysis is the concept of efficiency backed by the pronouncement of continuity. Major benefits for local spatial planning are outlined while at the same time assurance is given that no new efforts or added costs are foreseen for the municipalities. The role of the SEA is downsized in relation to sustainable development and to the Environmental Impact Assessment of projects. In order to fully interrogate this debate the current paper combines a policy implementation approach with a discourse perspective.

Suggested Citation

  • Tuija Hilding-Rydevik & Ann Åkerskog, 2011. "A clear case of 'doublespeak': the Swedish governmental SEA implementation discourse," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(4), pages 495-515.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:54:y:2011:i:4:p:495-515 DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2010.517989

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frances Ruane & Xiaoheng Zhang, 2007. "Location Choices of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe after 1992," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp220, IIIS.
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