Advanced

Rubbish rules : a critical discourse analysis of neoliberalizing processes in Swedish waste management

Skarp, Sara LU (2016) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20161
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
A linear system – one that extracts materials and then puts them in landfills and incinerates them, thus creating a demand for even more materials – is fundamentally unsustainable. Swedish waste management is thought by many to be progressive and at the forefront, when looking at the waste hierarchy. While there is a ban on landfilling non-hazardous and organic waste in Sweden, around 50% is incinerated in so-called waste-to-energy plants, the second-to-last favored option in the waste hierarchy. My research aims at investigating how the project of neoliberalization, understood as a complex process of deregulation and restructuring of the state apparatus, has affected Swedish waste management, and specifically waste incineration.... (More)
A linear system – one that extracts materials and then puts them in landfills and incinerates them, thus creating a demand for even more materials – is fundamentally unsustainable. Swedish waste management is thought by many to be progressive and at the forefront, when looking at the waste hierarchy. While there is a ban on landfilling non-hazardous and organic waste in Sweden, around 50% is incinerated in so-called waste-to-energy plants, the second-to-last favored option in the waste hierarchy. My research aims at investigating how the project of neoliberalization, understood as a complex process of deregulation and restructuring of the state apparatus, has affected Swedish waste management, and specifically waste incineration. Subscribing to the idea that language shapes our reality and dictates which problems and solutions that are possible and which are not, I conduct my research by using the analytical tool Critical Discourse Analysis, based on Norman Fairclough’s ideas. The data consists of transcripts from interviews with employees at municipalities and waste incineration plants in the south of Sweden. My analysis shows that municipalities have become competitors; there has been a corporatization of municipal waste companies; that language is skewed in a market direction, etc. These results indicate that waste management in Sweden has indeed been affected by neoliberalization. This means that neoliberalization acts on waste incineration, for example through discourse, and this by extension reproduces the linearity of the system. If we are to move to a circular system, a kretslopp as it has been called in Sweden, we need to move away from waste incineration and towards recycling, reuse and prevention. To do this, however, we first need to acknowledge that neoliberalism is present in Swedish waste management, and that this might indeed hinder any attempt at progressing Swedish waste management even further. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Skarp, Sara LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
neoliberalization, discourse theory, waste incineration, waste management, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2016:029
language
English
id
8879074
date added to LUP
2016-06-09 16:30:48
date last changed
2016-06-09 16:30:48
@misc{8879074,
  abstract     = {A linear system – one that extracts materials and then puts them in landfills and incinerates them, thus creating a demand for even more materials – is fundamentally unsustainable. Swedish waste management is thought by many to be progressive and at the forefront, when looking at the waste hierarchy. While there is a ban on landfilling non-hazardous and organic waste in Sweden, around 50% is incinerated in so-called waste-to-energy plants, the second-to-last favored option in the waste hierarchy. My research aims at investigating how the project of neoliberalization, understood as a complex process of deregulation and restructuring of the state apparatus, has affected Swedish waste management, and specifically waste incineration. Subscribing to the idea that language shapes our reality and dictates which problems and solutions that are possible and which are not, I conduct my research by using the analytical tool Critical Discourse Analysis, based on Norman Fairclough’s ideas. The data consists of transcripts from interviews with employees at municipalities and waste incineration plants in the south of Sweden. My analysis shows that municipalities have become competitors; there has been a corporatization of municipal waste companies; that language is skewed in a market direction, etc. These results indicate that waste management in Sweden has indeed been affected by neoliberalization. This means that neoliberalization acts on waste incineration, for example through discourse, and this by extension reproduces the linearity of the system. If we are to move to a circular system, a kretslopp as it has been called in Sweden, we need to move away from waste incineration and towards recycling, reuse and prevention. To do this, however, we first need to acknowledge that neoliberalism is present in Swedish waste management, and that this might indeed hinder any attempt at progressing Swedish waste management even further.},
  author       = {Skarp, Sara},
  keyword      = {neoliberalization,discourse theory,waste incineration,waste management,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Rubbish rules : a critical discourse analysis of neoliberalizing processes in Swedish waste management},
  year         = {2016},
}