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Publications (10 of 20) Show all publications
Kuchler, M. & Bridge, G. (2018). Down the black hole: Sustaining national socio-technical imaginaries of coal in Poland. Energy Research & Social Science
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Down the black hole: Sustaining national socio-technical imaginaries of coal in Poland
2018 (English)In: Energy Research & Social Science, ISSN 2214-6296, E-ISSN 2214-6326Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the socio-technical imaginaries surrounding infrastructures of coal mining and coal combustion in Poland. Contemporary policy makers in Poland mobilise a national imaginary inherited from communist times – encapsulated in the slogan ‘Poland stands on coal’ – that fuses infrastructures of coal extraction and combustion with the fate of the nation. This socio-technical imaginary provides support for coal futures, even in the face of contradictory evidence for domestic resource depletion, poor regional air quality, and global climate change. To examine this process, the paper brings research on socio-technical imaginaries into conversation with work on resource materialities. It highlights how certain materialities of coal (abundance, accessibility, energy density, location) were integral to the emergence of a national socio-technical imaginary of modernisation via coal; and how other materialities (declining resource quality, effects of emissions on respiratory health, coal as CO2-in-waiting) now collide with the political strategies of a government determined to reassert ‘black gold’ as a bedrock of national development for years to come. The paper considers how contemporary political efforts to rehabilitate coal and secure its future in Poland draw selectively upon a socio-technical imaginary of coal-fuelled national modernisation.

Keywords
coal, energy infrastructure, imaginaries, nation, modernisation, Poland
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-352799 (URN)10.1016/j.erss.2018.04.014 (DOI)
Projects
Fractures in the EU energy future: at the crossroad between security, transition and governance (Formas 2015-455)
Available from: 2018-06-07 Created: 2018-06-07 Last updated: 2018-06-12
Kuchler, M. (2017). Post-conventional energy futures: Rendering Europe's shale gas resources governable. Energy Research & Social Science, 31, 32-40
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Post-conventional energy futures: Rendering Europe's shale gas resources governable
2017 (English)In: Energy Research & Social Science, ISSN 2214-6296, E-ISSN 2214-6326, Vol. 31, p. 32-40Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Following the shale gas boom in the United States, unconventional natural gas extracted from organic-rich shale rock formations has generated increasing attention in the European Union (EU). This considerable interest has been spurred by a range of optimistic volumetric appraisals of shale gas resource potential trapped beneath the European continent. The paper critically examines rationalities and practices through which states of resource availability and recoverability are made visible, measurable, intelligible, and thus rendered governable, namely open to new fields of possibilities to act upon. By implementing the concept of socio-technical imaginaries as governmentality approach, the analysis is guided by two objectives: first, to identify visions of shale gas potential contained in a range of resource estimates; second, to scrutinize rationalities of government, that is how shale gas resources are made knowable and purposeful, as well as technologies of government that operationalize these rationalities via practices of calculation, visualization, and inscription. The paper illustrates that, these highly speculative and uncertain assessments can forge powerful volumetric imaginaries of shale gas potential that yield specific governing effects concerned with securitization of unconventional hydrocarbons availability. Consequently, these imaginaries prescribe and legitimize techno-political hopes for certain post-conventional energy futures underpinning the fossil fuel abundance narrative.

Keywords
Shale gas, Sociotechnical imaginaries, Governmentality, Europe
National Category
Energy Systems Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science; Earth Science with specialization in Environmental Analysis; Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-329608 (URN)10.1016/j.erss.2017.05.028 (DOI)000414329700004 ()
Projects
Fractures in the EU energy future: at the crossroad between security, transition and governance
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2015-455
Available from: 2017-09-19 Created: 2017-09-19 Last updated: 2018-02-12Bibliographically approved
Blicharska, M., Smithers, R. J., Kuchler, M., Agrawal, G. K., Gutiérrez, J. M., Hassanali, A., . . . Mikusinski, G. (2017). Steps to overcome the North-South divide in research relevant to climate-change policy and practice. Nature Climate Change, 7, 21-27
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Steps to overcome the North-South divide in research relevant to climate-change policy and practice
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2017 (English)In: Nature Climate Change, ISSN 1758-678X, E-ISSN 1758-6798, Vol. 7, p. 21-27Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A global North-South divide in research, and its negative consequences, has been highlighted in various scientific disciplines. Northern domination of science relevant to climate change policy and practice, and limited research led by Southern researchers in Southern countries, may hinder further development and implementation of global climate change agreements and nationally appropriate actions. Despite efforts to address the North-South divide, progress has been slow. In this Perspective, we illustrate the extent of the divide, review underlying issues and analyse their consequences for climate change policy development and implementation. We propose a set of practical steps in both Northern and Southern countries that a wide range of actors should take at global, regional and national scales to span the North-South divide, with examples of some actions already being implemented.

Keywords
Climate change, Developing world
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-312478 (URN)10.1038/NCLIMATE3163 (DOI)000396346700010 ()
Available from: 2017-01-10 Created: 2017-01-10 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
Kuchler, M. (2017). The human rights turn: ENGOs’ changing tactics in the quest for a more transparent, participatory and accountable CDM. Environmental Politics, 26(4), 648-668
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The human rights turn: ENGOs’ changing tactics in the quest for a more transparent, participatory and accountable CDM
2017 (English)In: Environmental Politics, ISSN 0964-4016, E-ISSN 1743-8934, Vol. 26, no 4, p. 648-668Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Non-state actors are increasingly participating in international climate diplomacy. The tactics employed by diverse civil society agents to influence climate policymaking are radicalizing through the adoption of more confrontational language. Activist groups have been seeking opportunities to influence policymakers regarding the rules related to transparency, public participation and accountability in the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). By scrutinizing efforts of three environmental NGOs (ENGOs) — Climate Action Network, Center for International Environmental Law and Carbon Market Watch — the analysis concentrates on what tactical shifts have occurred in the framing positions and approaches of these activists during the 1997-2015 period. After several years of legal advocacy, expertise and/or critique in an effort to reform input legitimacy of CDM governance, the selected ENGOs have recently drifted away from narratives of green governmentality and ecological modernization and, instead, radicalized their rhetorical tactics by turning to a human rights perspective under the umbrella of climate justice.

Keywords
CDM, climate governance, climate justice, ENGOs, activism, advocacy, legitimacy
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-320574 (URN)10.1080/09644016.2017.1319018 (DOI)000402082300005 ()
Projects
Non-state actors in the new landscape of international climate cooperation
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2011-779Swedish Research Council, 2011-1862
Available from: 2017-04-21 Created: 2017-04-21 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
Kuchler, M. & Hedrén, J. (2015). Bioenergy as an Empty Signifier. The Review of Radical Political Economics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bioenergy as an Empty Signifier
2015 (English)In: The Review of Radical Political Economics, ISSN 0486-6134, E-ISSN 1552-8502Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The article provides insight into the contemporary international bioenergy debate and scrutinizes how the idea of biofuel production as a win-win-win solution to energy insecurity, climate change, and agricultural stagnation came into being, what discursive forces bind such a conceptualization, and where dislocations arise. Based on critical assumptions of discourse theory developed by Laclau and Mouffe, the analysis explores assessments, reports, policy papers, and other central documents from three influential international organizations—the International Energy Agency, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization—that provide an entry point to the global debate on biofuels. We show that the bioenergy concept occupies specific positions and conveys different meanings within the three overlapping discourses of energy, climate, and agriculture. These three discursive areas are further “sutured” around the notion of biofuel production, where a hegemonic thread of the capitalist market economics, fixated on economic growth and presupposing the necessity of cost-effectiveness, results in internal contradictions and dislocations within the win-win-win conceptualization, emptying bioenergy of any content.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2015
Keywords
bioenergy, biofuels, debate, discourse, international organizations, hegemony
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265401 (URN)10.1177/0486613415591804 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-09-02 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2018-01-10
Kuchler, M. & Lövbrand, E. (2015). Simulative governance: on the collaborative narrative of civil society participation in the CDM stakeholder framework. Environmental Politics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Simulative governance: on the collaborative narrative of civil society participation in the CDM stakeholder framework
2015 (English)In: Environmental Politics, ISSN 0964-4016, E-ISSN 1743-8934Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is often cited as an exemplar of new, hybrid forms of global environmental governance operating at the public–private interface. Practically, enacting this arrangement involves a wide range of non-state actors. This broad involvement is here assumed to mark a shift towards more polycentric and networked modes of governance in which agents collaborate as ‘stakeholders’ in the process of consensual rule-setting and implementation. Using post-political critique, the depoliticising effects of the stakeholder framework on civil society actors are interrogated, using formal and informal participation opportunities to raise concerns regarding specific CDM projects. The analysis suggests that the CDM’s collaborative narrative of stakeholding structurally fails to stimulate public (re)engagement and is, instead, a prime example of simulative governance that struggles to achieve the simultaneity of two incompatibilities: the participatory revolution and the post-political turn.

Keywords
CDM, global environmental governance, stakeholder, post-political, depoliticisation, civil society
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265414 (URN)10.1080/09644016.2015.1102352 (DOI)
Projects
Non-State Actors in the New Landscape of International Climate Cooperation
Available from: 2015-10-28 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2018-01-10
Kuchler, M. (2015). Stakeholding as sorting of actors into categories: implications for civil society participation in the CDM. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stakeholding as sorting of actors into categories: implications for civil society participation in the CDM
2015 (English)In: International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, ISSN 1567-9764, E-ISSN 1573-1553Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Following a deliberative shift towards public–private partnership networks in global environmental governance, the multi-stakeholder framework is increasingly advocated for engaging multiple actors in collective decision-making. As this arrangement relies on proper participatory conditions in order to include all relevant stakeholders, input legitimacy is crucial to achieving legitimate outcomes. However, ‘stakeholding’ implies that actors—recast into a specific institutional context—are sorted into new formal or informal categories. This paper scrutinizes the clean development mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol to interrogate the problematic issue of ‘stakeholding’—i.e. the ‘sorting’ of actors—in enacting the multi-stakeholder framework. Based on an analysis of 25 CDM projects that provides insight into the widest range of participation opportunities for civil society regarding specific projects, this paper considers how certain institutional context of the Mechanism’s stakeholder framework affects the involvement of civil society actors and the implications of this for balanced and fair input legitimacy. The findings suggest that, in practice, the informal corporate-induced sorting of actors into internal and external stakeholders keeps civil society actors outside the CDM’s inner circle, forcing them to voice their concerns regarding specific projects via CDM insiders or through irregular channels. Furthermore, the absence of a clear definition of stakeholder in local consultations results in the inclusion of unsorted actors, destabilizing the distribution of participation opportunities. The paper concludes that recasting the deliberative principles of openness and plurality into the CDM’s corporate-inspired stakeholding creates a specific institutional context that imposes more than one set of perhaps incompatible stakeholder categories while impairing input legitimacy.

Keywords
stakeholder, input legitimacy, civil society, clean development mechanism, climate policy, global environmental governance
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266869 (URN)10.1007/s10784-015-9314-5 (DOI)
Projects
Non-State Actors in the New Landscape of International Climate Cooperation
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2011-779Swedish Research Council, 2011-1862
Available from: 2015-11-12 Created: 2015-11-12 Last updated: 2018-01-10
Kuchler, M. & Lövbrand, E. (2014). Simulative governance: on the collaborative language of civil society participation in the CDM's stakeholder framework. In: : . Paper presented at EASST 2014 "Situating Solidarities: social challenges for science and technology studies", 17-19 September, Toruń, Poland (pp. 1-29).
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Simulative governance: on the collaborative language of civil society participation in the CDM's stakeholder framework
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is often used as a prime example of new and hybrid forms of governance operating at the public-private frontier. The practical enactment of this arrangement involves a wide array of non-state actors. This broad involvement is here assumed to mark a shift towards more polycentric and networked modes of governing where agents are invited as 'stakeholders' in the process of rule-setting and implementation. In this paper we depart from the liberal norm of consensus and instead examine its political effects. We do so by employing the post-political critique to interrogate what it entails for civil society actors to be stakeholders that raise their concerns on specific CDM projects. Based on analyses of documentation of the project validation and direct communication with the CDM Executive Board, as well as interviews with key actors in the CDM process, we ask what kinds of politicizing and/or de-politicizing effects that the stakeholder framework fosters and what spaces for social critique and resistance it produces. The analysis suggests that stakeholding in the CDM constitutes a form of simulative governance that holds a promise of activated civil society participation but, simultaneously, employs tactics that aim at avoiding politicization of local communities and de-politicizing voices of critique from global civic actors. The paper contributes to the post-political critique by lifting it beyond the Western-centric focus on advanced modern societies and opening up to spaces where de-politicization practices can take the form of non-activating potentially political actors.

Keywords
governance, stakeholder, participation, CDM, civil society, post-political
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265407 (URN)
Conference
EASST 2014 "Situating Solidarities: social challenges for science and technology studies", 17-19 September, Toruń, Poland
Available from: 2014-09-20 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2018-01-10
Kuchler, M. & Lövbrand, E. (2014). Stakeholding as governmental rationality and practice: on the political effects of collaborative carbon market governance. In: : . Paper presented at Devices and Desires: The Cultural Politics of a Low Carbon Society, Lund University, Sweden, 21-23 May 2014.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stakeholding as governmental rationality and practice: on the political effects of collaborative carbon market governance
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Keywords
CDM, stakeholder, governance, carbon market, participation, civil society
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265406 (URN)
Conference
Devices and Desires: The Cultural Politics of a Low Carbon Society, Lund University, Sweden, 21-23 May 2014
Available from: 2014-09-02 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2018-01-10
Kuchler, M. (2014). Sweet dreams (are made of cellulose): Sociotechnical imaginaries of second-generation bioenergy in the global debate. Ecological Economics, 107, 431-437
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sweet dreams (are made of cellulose): Sociotechnical imaginaries of second-generation bioenergy in the global debate
2014 (English)In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 107, p. 431-437Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper critically examines the sociotechnical imaginaries of second-generation bioenergy technology in the global debate, exemplified by the deliberations of international organizations specializing in food and agriculture, energy security, and climate change. The analysis is guided by two objectives: first, to identify and illuminate visions of future advanced biofuels by implementing the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries; second, to scrutinize these imaginaries using a critical and diagnostic utopian method to determine whether the projected visions entail the promise of radical change and hope for socioeconomic transition to a “green” future, or instead manifest an ideological stranglehold striving to perpetuate the status quo. The article demonstrates that sociotechnical imaginaries of advanced biofuel technology superficially project the illusion of utopian potential. On closer examination, however, visions of future second-generation biofuels are limited by the necessity of cost-effectiveness that underpins market competitiveness. They manifest utopian impotence to imagine the future beyond the ideological closure of the currently dominant socioeconomic system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keywords
bioenergy; second-generation; sociotechnical imaginaries; international organizations; future; utopia
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265394 (URN)10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.09.014 (DOI)000345474800041 ()
Available from: 2015-10-28 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-8110-4538

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