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Challenging capitalism's nature - labour dichotomy. A critical perspective on union discourses in the German lignite mining conflict

Barth, Bernadette LU (2018) HEKM51 20181
Human Ecology
Abstract
The heated debate about the future of the lignite industry in Germany manifests itself around two major issues: CO2 emissions and jobs. While there is a growing mobilisation of the climate justice movement which demands an immediate phase out of lignite, the mining union IG BCE is a vocal opponent of a lignite phase out in the near future. The conflict confirms the often conjured antagonism between environmental and labour movements.
This thesis draws upon Marxist theory in order to provide a critical perspective on the nature – labour divide in the German lignite mining conflict. Defining the capitalist mode of production as the system which produces the red – green tension, I make use of critical discourse analysis in order to... (More)
The heated debate about the future of the lignite industry in Germany manifests itself around two major issues: CO2 emissions and jobs. While there is a growing mobilisation of the climate justice movement which demands an immediate phase out of lignite, the mining union IG BCE is a vocal opponent of a lignite phase out in the near future. The conflict confirms the often conjured antagonism between environmental and labour movements.
This thesis draws upon Marxist theory in order to provide a critical perspective on the nature – labour divide in the German lignite mining conflict. Defining the capitalist mode of production as the system which produces the red – green tension, I make use of critical discourse analysis in order to understand how German unions react upon the dichotomy. The concept of just transition, defined by the international trade union movement as tool to align labour demands with climate action in the transition to a low-carbon economy serves as an integrating vehicle to articulate different types of labour environmentalisms that reach from affirmative positions towards the current capitalist mode of productions to more transformative types that seek to overcome it.
While the mining union IG BCE is unable to challenge the red-green tension due to its tight bonds with capital and its traditional commitment to productionism, there are non-conforming union voices which make use of the just transition concept in order to align labour demands with climate action. (Less)
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author
Barth, Bernadette LU
supervisor
organization
course
HEKM51 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
labour, nature, lignite, critical discourse analysis, just transition
language
English
id
8953920
date added to LUP
2018-12-21 11:25:54
date last changed
2018-12-21 11:25:54
@misc{8953920,
  abstract     = {The heated debate about the future of the lignite industry in Germany manifests itself around two major issues: CO2 emissions and jobs. While there is a growing mobilisation of the climate justice movement which demands an immediate phase out of lignite, the mining union IG BCE is a vocal opponent of a lignite phase out in the near future. The conflict confirms the often conjured antagonism between environmental and labour movements.
This thesis draws upon Marxist theory in order to provide a critical perspective on the nature – labour divide in the German lignite mining conflict. Defining the capitalist mode of production as the system which produces the red – green tension, I make use of critical discourse analysis in order to understand how German unions react upon the dichotomy. The concept of just transition, defined by the international trade union movement as tool to align labour demands with climate action in the transition to a low-carbon economy serves as an integrating vehicle to articulate different types of labour environmentalisms that reach from affirmative positions towards the current capitalist mode of productions to more transformative types that seek to overcome it. 
While the mining union IG BCE is unable to challenge the red-green tension due to its tight bonds with capital and its traditional commitment to productionism, there are non-conforming union voices which make use of the just transition concept in order to align labour demands with climate action.},
  author       = {Barth, Bernadette},
  keyword      = {labour,nature,lignite,critical discourse analysis,just transition},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Challenging capitalism's nature - labour dichotomy. A critical perspective on union discourses in the German lignite mining conflict},
  year         = {2018},
}