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ECO-DISCOURSE AND POLITICS Part One: History and Context Case Study: Hong Kong waste production.

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Presentation on theme: "ECO-DISCOURSE AND POLITICS Part One: History and Context Case Study: Hong Kong waste production."— Presentation transcript:

1 ECO-DISCOURSE AND POLITICS Part One: History and Context Case Study: Hong Kong waste production

2 Basis for understanding “discourse”: Michele Foucault a French philosopher (1926–1984) affiliated with the philosophy of post- structuralism (though he denied the label) Foucault’s definition: “systems of thoughts composed of ideas, attitudes, courses of action, beliefs and practices that systematically construct the subjects and the worlds of which they speak." John S. Dryzek says Foucault and followers see discourses in hegemonic terms, but Dryzek disagrees, saying that… …Industrialism was a hegemonic discourse, which disintegrated into a variety of environmentalist discourses (the basis for eco-discourse is industrialism). “Environmentalism is composed of a variety of discourses, sometimes complementing one another, but often competing” What is a discourse?

3 So …. if “framing” is HOW information is communicated Discourse analysis highlights the reason WHY. Why does an activist frame an issue one way? Why do businessmen and politicians both frame the same issue completely differently? Because they look at the world from different perspectives… …each belongs to a different discourse! Transition from last week

4 1. Survivalism o Promethean response 2. Problem-solving Administrative Rationalism Democratic Pragmatism Economic Rationalism 3. Sustainability Sustainable Development Ecological Modernization 4. Green Radicalism Green Consciousness Green Politics The four environmental discourses (according to John S. Dryzek’s “The Politics of the Earth)

5 Classification of discourses REFORMISTRADICAL PROSAIC PROBLEM- SOLVING SURVIVALISM IMAGINATIVE SUSTAINABILITYGREEN RADICALISM

6 Case Study: Hong Kong waste problem Video: “Hong Kong choking on food waste” HbRcg (Jan. 13, SCMP) HbRcg Print: “Refuse mountain makes HK most wasteful place in world,” by Cheung Chi-fai (Tues., Oct. 26, 2010 – SCMP)

7 Discourse Analysis of Survivalism 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Finite stocks of resources Carrying capacity of ecosystems Populations Elites 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Conflicts Hierarchy and control 3. Agents and their motives Elites; motivation is up for grabs 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Overshoot and collapse Commons Spaceship Earth Lily Pond Cancer Virus Computers Images of doom and redemption Looming Tragedy vs. Growth Forever Promethean Discourse Analysis 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Nature as only brute matter Markets Prices Energy Technology People 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Hierarchy of humans over everything else Competition 3. Agents and their motives Everyone; motivated by material self-interest 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Mechanistic Trends

8 Leave it to the experts/people/markets Discourse Analysis of Administrative Rationalism 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Liberal capitalism Administrative state Experts Managers 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Nature subordinate to human problem solving People subordinate to state Experts and managers control state 3. Agents and their motives Experts and managers Motivated by public interest, defined in unitary terms 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Mixture of concern and reassurance The administrative mind Discourse Analysis of Democratic Pragmatism 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Liberal capitalism Citizens 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Equality among citizens Interactive political relationships, mixing competition and cooperation 3. Agents and their motives Many different agents Motivation a mix of material self- interest and multiple conceptions of public interest 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Public policy as a resultant of forces Policy like scientific experimentation Thermostat Network Discourse Analysis of Economic Rationalism 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Homo economicus Markets Prices Property Governments (not citizens) 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Competition Hierarchy based on expertise Subordination of nature 3. Agents and their motives Homo economicus, self-interested Some government officials must be motivated by public interest 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Mechanistic Stigmatizing regulation as ‘command and control’ Connection with freedom Horror stories

9 Environmentally benign growth, or, industrial society and beyond Discourse Analysis of Sustainable Development 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Nested and networked social and ecological systems Capitalist economy Ambiguity concerning existence of limits 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Cooperation Nature subordinate Economic growth, environmental protection, distributive justice 3. Agents and their motives Many agents at different levels, transnational and local as well as the state; motivated by the public good 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Organic growth Nature as natural capital Connection to progress Reassurance Discourse Analysis of Ecological Modernization 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Complex systems Nature as waste treatment plant Capitalist economy The state 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Partnerships encompassing governments, business, environmentalists, scientists Subordination of nature Environmental protection and economic prosperity go together 3. Agents and their motives Partners, motivated by public good 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Tidy household Connection to progress Reassurance

10 Changing people, or, changing society Discourse Analysis of Green Consciousness Change 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Global limits Nature Unnatural practices Ideas 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Natural relationships between humans and nature that have been violated Equality across people and nature 3. Agents and their motives Human subjects, some more ecologically aware than others Agency can exist in nature too 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Wide range of biological and organic metaphors Passion Appeals to emotions, institutions Discourse Analysis of Green Politics 1. Basic Entities Recognized or constructed Global limits Nature as complex ecosystems Humans with broad capacities Social, economic and political structures 2. Assumptions about natural relationships Equality among people Complex interconnections between humans and nature 3. Agents and their motives Many individual and collective actors, multidimensional motivation Agency in nature downplayed though not necessarily denied 4. Key Metaphors and other rhetorical devices Organic metaphors Appeals to social learning Link to progress

11 1. Nuclear Power Plant Field Trip? 2. Volunteers to meet with Common Core Curriculum interviewers? 3. Readings reminder!!! Read your specific discourse… also try to read the whole book! 4. Research your presentation topics!!! Primary sources are another way to supplement your research of the topic, in addition to an exhaustive review of news coverage. Feel free to try to approaching primary sources after you have a solid background on the topic. IF YOU CHOOSE TO CONSULT PRIMARY SOURCES (not required)… sources could be in HK or abroad: a journalist who covered the issue? A politician or activist who made an influential comment? Someone whose life was affected. Be sure you have their full name (if possible) and biographical background… Locally, examples could be: – a HK (colonial official) during the negotiations to install Daya Bay? – Someone who lived during the period of water rationing in Hong Kong (a relative would be easy, and if you have a personal relationship, please be transparent with this connection) – People at the local sushi company with the record-breaking purchase, or workers involved with shark fin industry, fishermen, or even fish sellers in the wet market? International examples could be similarly wide-ranging, and might be approached through contacts found online. 5. Grading criteria (for debate and presentation): I will provide a more detailed rubric of grading after the reading week. …Also


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