Advanced search
1 file | 2.26 MB Add to list

Normative dynamics of the energy transformation : origins, emergence, and diffusion of anti-fossil fuel norms

(2019)
Author
Promoter
(UGent)
Organization
Abstract
In this dissertation, I examine the emergence and diffusion of international norms. In particular, it studies the drivers and constraints that determine the selection and diffusion of anti-fossil fuel norms (AFFNs). Such international norms formulate behavioural standards for those actors concerned with the effect of fossil fuels on climate change and they prescribe the phase-out and ultimate prohibition of practices and processes across the entire fossil fuel supply chain of financing, extraction, processing and consumption. In recent years, an increasing number of AFFNs have been articulated and are actively being diffused. I situate the rise of these AFFNs in a context where long-time dominant, interest-based and economic approaches to climate action are subject to growing scrutiny. Instead, critics propose new approaches, based on ethics, norms and moral obligation to act on climate change. I construct an analytical “life cycle” framework to answer the following research question, “What are the drivers and constraints that determine the selection and diffusion of international AFFNs?” I apply the framework in four disciplined-configurative case studies of the following AFFNs: fossil fuel subsidy reform, global coal mining moratorium, phase-out of coal-fired power generation, and fossil fuel divestment. Each of four articles in this dissertation examines a separate AFFN, with a specific research puzzle, and focusses on different aspects and instances of the process of norm development. I find that the structural factors that determine the success of norms are extrinsic events and the “fit” with the extant normative environment. Agency-based determinants include: the (legitimacy) of involved actors (in particular norm entrepreneurs), framing strategies (i.e. discursive power), and material power. This dissertation further adds six key insights to the study of norm emergence and diffusion. First, extrinsic events, in the form of political or economic crises and focussing events, continuously create windows of opportunities or normative constraints throughout the entire AFFN life cycle for relevant actors. Second, a liberal social order, associated with liberal environmentalism constrains the international institutionalisation of counter-hegemonic AFFNs. Domestic and local norms also affect the implementation of AFFNs. Third, AFFNs are likely to be more successful when framing strategies (also) emphasise non-climate issues. That is, in some cases, explicitly framing an AFFN in non-climate terms increases its likelihood of success. Fourth, the power to speak to (perceived) material interests emphasises the continuous impact and relevance of interest-based logics for norm development, even if AFFNs form the basis of a normative approach to climate action. Fifth, agency can be attributed to multiple types of actors, other than norm entrepreneurs, in the AFFN life cycle. This agency plays out in the form of internal and external contestation and occurs discursively as well as behaviourally. Sixth, norm diffusion processes—i.e. institutionalisation and implementation—do not always occur sequentially. Instead they can happen the other way around, simultaneously or independently from one another. Empirically, this study highlights a variety of AFFNs that, by their very nature and objectives, will likely be important factors in the required energy transformation away from a fossil fuel-heavy economy, toward a zero-carbon society. Theoretically, although much scholarly work has been done on the emergence of diffusion of norms, there is little agreement on how this actually occurs and what the driving or constraining determinants are. Moreover, the dissertation contributes to a growing debate in academia on how a normative approach can further the required action on fossil fuels and climate change.

Downloads

  • (...).pdf
    • full text
    • |
    • UGent only
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 2.26 MB

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Blondeel, Mathieu. Normative Dynamics of the Energy Transformation : Origins, Emergence, and Diffusion of Anti-Fossil Fuel Norms. Ghent University : Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, 2019.
APA
Blondeel, M. (2019). Normative dynamics of the energy transformation : origins, emergence, and diffusion of anti-fossil fuel norms. Ghent University : Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Ghent, Belgium.
Chicago author-date
Blondeel, Mathieu. 2019. “Normative Dynamics of the Energy Transformation : Origins, Emergence, and Diffusion of Anti-Fossil Fuel Norms.” Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University : Faculty of Political and Social Sciences.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Blondeel, Mathieu. 2019. “Normative Dynamics of the Energy Transformation : Origins, Emergence, and Diffusion of Anti-Fossil Fuel Norms.” Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University : Faculty of Political and Social Sciences.
Vancouver
1.
Blondeel M. Normative dynamics of the energy transformation : origins, emergence, and diffusion of anti-fossil fuel norms. [Ghent, Belgium]: Ghent University : Faculty of Political and Social Sciences; 2019.
IEEE
[1]
M. Blondeel, “Normative dynamics of the energy transformation : origins, emergence, and diffusion of anti-fossil fuel norms,” Ghent University : Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Ghent, Belgium, 2019.
@phdthesis{8635906,
  abstract     = {In this dissertation, I examine the emergence and diffusion of international norms. In particular, it studies the drivers and constraints that determine the selection and diffusion of anti-fossil fuel norms (AFFNs). Such international norms formulate behavioural standards for those actors concerned with the effect of fossil fuels on climate change and they prescribe the phase-out and ultimate prohibition of practices and processes across the entire fossil fuel supply chain of financing, extraction, processing and consumption. In recent years, an increasing number of AFFNs have been articulated and are actively being diffused. I situate the rise of these AFFNs in a context where long-time dominant, interest-based and economic approaches to climate action are subject to growing scrutiny. Instead, critics propose new approaches, based on ethics, norms and moral obligation to act on climate change.
I construct an analytical “life cycle” framework to answer the following research question, “What are the drivers and constraints that determine the selection and diffusion of international AFFNs?” I apply the framework in four disciplined-configurative case studies of the following AFFNs: fossil fuel subsidy reform, global coal mining moratorium, phase-out of coal-fired power generation, and fossil fuel divestment. Each of four articles in this dissertation examines a separate AFFN, with a specific research puzzle, and focusses on different aspects and instances of the process of norm development. I find that the structural factors that determine the success of norms are extrinsic events and the “fit” with the extant normative environment. Agency-based determinants include: the (legitimacy) of involved actors (in particular norm entrepreneurs), framing strategies (i.e. discursive power), and material power.
This dissertation further adds six key insights to the study of norm emergence and diffusion. First, extrinsic events, in the form of political or economic crises and focussing events, continuously create windows of opportunities or normative constraints throughout the entire AFFN life cycle for relevant actors. Second, a liberal social order, associated with liberal environmentalism constrains the international institutionalisation of counter-hegemonic AFFNs. Domestic and local norms also affect the implementation of AFFNs. Third, AFFNs are likely to be more successful when framing strategies (also) emphasise non-climate issues. That is, in some cases, explicitly framing an AFFN in non-climate terms increases its likelihood of success. Fourth, the power to speak to (perceived) material interests emphasises the continuous impact and relevance of interest-based logics for norm development, even if AFFNs form the basis of a normative approach to climate action. Fifth, agency can be attributed to multiple types of actors, other than norm entrepreneurs, in the AFFN life cycle. This agency plays out in the form of internal and external contestation and occurs discursively as well as behaviourally. Sixth, norm diffusion processes—i.e. institutionalisation and implementation—do not always occur sequentially. Instead they can happen the other way around, simultaneously or independently from one another.
Empirically, this study highlights a variety of AFFNs that, by their very nature and objectives, will likely be important factors in the required energy transformation away from a fossil fuel-heavy economy, toward a zero-carbon society. Theoretically, although much scholarly work has been done on the emergence of diffusion of norms, there is little agreement on how this actually occurs and what the driving or constraining determinants are. Moreover, the dissertation contributes to a growing debate in academia on how a normative approach can further the required action on fossil fuels and climate change.
},
  author       = {Blondeel, Mathieu},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {ix, 249},
  publisher    = {Ghent University : Faculty of Political and Social Sciences},
  school       = {Ghent University},
  title        = {Normative dynamics of the energy transformation : origins, emergence, and diffusion of anti-fossil fuel norms},
  year         = {2019},
}