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Taking away a 'social licence' : neo-Gramscian perspectives on an international fossil fuel divestment norm

(2019) GLOBAL TRANSITIONS. 1. p.200-209
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Abstract
The international fossil fuel divestment norm formulates a standard of appropriate behaviour to withdraw investments from fossil fuel assets and reinvest them into climate-friendly solutions. Its ultimate objective is to take away the industry’s “social licence to operate”. In other words, the norm fundamentally questions the legitimacy of an industry because of its major impact on climate change. This paper offers a neo-Gramscian view as to how a radical divestment norm seeks to delegitimise the role of fossil fuels and the industry in society and how it only partly succeeds in doing so. This analytical interpretation of norm diffusion offers a rich understanding of the discursive and relational aspects of energy transitions and how societal consent to elite practices—and not just their coercive power—is pivotal in successfully maintaining or transitioning away from a fossil fuel-based society. I trace the origins and analyse the current state of the campaign and argue that four drivers are key to understanding norm diffusion: (legitimacy of) norm entrepreneurs; framing and discursive contestation; political opportunity structures; extant normative environment. I conclude that although there is certainly room for counter-hegemonic norm articulation, the constraining effects of a liberal social order, epitomised by liberal environmentalism, reduces its radical aspects to a passive revolution.
Keywords
Neo-gramscianism Constructivism Anti-fossil fuel norm Norm diffusion Energy transformation

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MLA
Blondeel, Mathieu. “Taking Away a ’social Licence’ : Neo-Gramscian Perspectives on an International Fossil Fuel Divestment Norm.” GLOBAL TRANSITIONS, vol. 1, 2019, pp. 200–09.
APA
Blondeel, M. (2019). Taking away a ’social licence’ : neo-Gramscian perspectives on an international fossil fuel divestment norm. GLOBAL TRANSITIONS, 1, 200–209.
Chicago author-date
Blondeel, Mathieu. 2019. “Taking Away a ’social Licence’ : Neo-Gramscian Perspectives on an International Fossil Fuel Divestment Norm.” GLOBAL TRANSITIONS 1: 200–209.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Blondeel, Mathieu. 2019. “Taking Away a ’social Licence’ : Neo-Gramscian Perspectives on an International Fossil Fuel Divestment Norm.” GLOBAL TRANSITIONS 1: 200–209.
Vancouver
1.
Blondeel M. Taking away a ’social licence’ : neo-Gramscian perspectives on an international fossil fuel divestment norm. GLOBAL TRANSITIONS. 2019;1:200–9.
IEEE
[1]
M. Blondeel, “Taking away a ’social licence’ : neo-Gramscian perspectives on an international fossil fuel divestment norm,” GLOBAL TRANSITIONS, vol. 1, pp. 200–209, 2019.
@article{8635812,
  abstract     = {The international fossil fuel divestment norm formulates a standard of appropriate behaviour to withdraw investments from fossil fuel assets and reinvest them into climate-friendly solutions. Its ultimate objective is to take away the industry’s “social licence to operate”. In other words, the norm fundamentally questions the legitimacy of an industry because of its major impact on climate change. This paper offers a neo-Gramscian view as to how a radical divestment norm seeks to delegitimise the role of fossil fuels and the industry in society and how it only partly succeeds in doing so. This analytical interpretation of norm diffusion offers a rich understanding of the discursive and relational aspects of energy transitions and how societal consent to elite practices—and not just their coercive power—is pivotal in successfully maintaining or transitioning away from a fossil fuel-based society. I trace the origins and analyse the current state of the campaign and argue that four drivers are key to understanding norm diffusion: (legitimacy of) norm entrepreneurs; framing and discursive contestation; political opportunity structures; extant normative environment. I conclude that although there is certainly room for counter-hegemonic norm articulation, the constraining effects of a liberal social order, epitomised by liberal environmentalism, reduces its radical aspects to a passive revolution.},
  author       = {Blondeel, Mathieu},
  issn         = {2589-7918},
  journal      = {GLOBAL TRANSITIONS},
  keywords     = {Neo-gramscianism Constructivism Anti-fossil fuel norm Norm diffusion Energy transformation},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {200--209},
  title        = {Taking away a 'social licence' : neo-Gramscian perspectives on an international fossil fuel divestment norm},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.glt.2019.10.006},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2019},
}

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