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Will plastic ever go away? : an analysis of how social movements can shift the framing of the plastic issue from consumption reduction to production as the driver of the plastic problem in Taiwan

Ka Ho, Hiroka LU (2020) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20201
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract (Chinese)
現在世界上,塑膠的生產量和消耗量正在加速地增加,由於塑膠產物的生產運用了化石燃料,整個塑膠產業在本質上便與石化產業密不可分,這樣棘手的處境是源於台灣石化產業在塑膠生產中的重要角色。儘管以資源回收王國的國際風評為傲,台灣在永續發展上的努力是非常低效率的,且承擔的責任往往落在一般市民上,若要完全解決塑膠的問題,了解任何相關的環節與它在整個體系裡的角色便是很重要的,塑膠產業明顯不願意為了環境保護而停止生產,因為企業利益會就此受到影響,那麼在此議題上政府等於是無效用的,這也讓社會團體成為了社會運動理論架構浮現的最前線,於是最重要的研究問題便是:社會運動能如何改變塑膠議題的框架?從減少消耗轉變為減少生產—台灣塑膠問題的最大推手。這個問題可以分成三個部分,首先此論文將來自行政院環境保護署的報導與報告集成的三組資料做三角測量,以制定問題的論述,為了達到此目的,資料中的編碼和主題經過挑選後計算,透過分析,再與相關人員訪談關於目前石化產業的新自由思想後,進一步的子問題便能被確認。言談分析深度鑽研了各種來自行政院環境保護署的報導和報告,進而了解是什麼架構和經濟邏輯導致對巨型石化企業的低關注,而其中,新自由主義也是討論的議題。調查結果說明社會運動能如何開啟新自由主義的思想,以面對環境和經濟利益的互相牴觸的議題,更具體地來說,社會運動的訴求為何必須重視生產面向為塑膠問題的主要推手,而非消耗面向,以及為何問題的架構需和大眾產生共鳴,才能保障支持、參與與動員力。
Abstract
Globally, the production and consumption of plastic has increased exponentially. As plastic items are produced using fossil fuels, the plastic industry is intrinsically tied to the petrochemical industry. One unique case of this dilemma lies in the petrochemical industry’s role in plastic production in Taiwan. Despite its reputation for recycling, Taiwan is satiated with ineffective sustainability efforts and places the burden of responsibility onto the citizens. In order to fully solve the plastic problem, it becomes critical to understand which actors are involved and what is their role within the system. There is an obvious unwillingness of the industry to voluntarily stop production for the sake of environmental protection, as that... (More)
Globally, the production and consumption of plastic has increased exponentially. As plastic items are produced using fossil fuels, the plastic industry is intrinsically tied to the petrochemical industry. One unique case of this dilemma lies in the petrochemical industry’s role in plastic production in Taiwan. Despite its reputation for recycling, Taiwan is satiated with ineffective sustainability efforts and places the burden of responsibility onto the citizens. In order to fully solve the plastic problem, it becomes critical to understand which actors are involved and what is their role within the system. There is an obvious unwillingness of the industry to voluntarily stop production for the sake of environmental protection, as that would negatively impact their corporate interests, similarly this renders the state ineffective in these matters. This leaves the civil society domain to take the forefront, which is where the theoretical framework for social movement theory emerges. The central research question then becomes:

How can social movements shift the framing of the plastic issue from consumption reduction to production as the driver of the plastic problem in Taiwan?

This question is addressed in three parts. Initially three datasets gathered consisting of newspapers and reports from the Taiwanese Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) were triangulated to formulate the discourse of the problem. In order to do this, codes and themes from the data were chosen and tallied. Through the analysis, further sub-questions were identified from interviews conducted with involved parties regarding the neoliberal ideology of the current petrochemical landscape. A discourse analysis explores the problem analysis of various newspapers and reports from the Taiwanese EPA. The exploration of what structures and economic logic drive the lack of attention on petrochemical giants, namely neoliberalism was also considered. The findings illustrate how social movements should unpack the neoliberal ideology in order to confront the clashing interests of the environment and the economy. More specifically, how claims made by social movements must identify production, over consumption, as the main driver of the plastic problem. As well as how the framing of problems must have resonance to the public, to ensure support, participation, and mobilisation. (Less)
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author
Ka Ho, Hiroka LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20201
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Plastic production, contentious politics, neoliberalism, framing, responsibility, mobilisation, Sustainability Science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2020:004
language
English
id
9013541
date added to LUP
2020-06-09 09:25:57
date last changed
2020-06-09 09:25:57
@misc{9013541,
  abstract     = {Globally, the production and consumption of plastic has increased exponentially. As plastic items are produced using fossil fuels, the plastic industry is intrinsically tied to the petrochemical industry. One unique case of this dilemma lies in the petrochemical industry’s role in plastic production in Taiwan. Despite its reputation for recycling, Taiwan is satiated with ineffective sustainability efforts and places the burden of responsibility onto the citizens. In order to fully solve the plastic problem, it becomes critical to understand which actors are involved and what is their role within the system. There is an obvious unwillingness of the industry to voluntarily stop production for the sake of environmental protection, as that would negatively impact their corporate interests, similarly this renders the state ineffective in these matters. This leaves the civil society domain to take the forefront, which is where the theoretical framework for social movement theory emerges. The central research question then becomes:

How can social movements shift the framing of the plastic issue from consumption reduction to production as the driver of the plastic problem in Taiwan?

This question is addressed in three parts. Initially three datasets gathered consisting of newspapers and reports from the Taiwanese Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) were triangulated to formulate the discourse of the problem. In order to do this, codes and themes from the data were chosen and tallied. Through the analysis, further sub-questions were identified from interviews conducted with involved parties regarding the neoliberal ideology of the current petrochemical landscape. A discourse analysis explores the problem analysis of various newspapers and reports from the Taiwanese EPA. The exploration of what structures and economic logic drive the lack of attention on petrochemical giants, namely neoliberalism was also considered. The findings illustrate how social movements should unpack the neoliberal ideology in order to confront the clashing interests of the environment and the economy. More specifically, how claims made by social movements must identify production, over consumption, as the main driver of the plastic problem. As well as how the framing of problems must have resonance to the public, to ensure support, participation, and mobilisation.},
  author       = {Ka Ho, Hiroka},
  keyword      = {Plastic production,contentious politics,neoliberalism,framing,responsibility,mobilisation,Sustainability Science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Will plastic ever go away? : an analysis of how social movements can shift the framing of the plastic issue from consumption reduction to production as the driver of the plastic problem in Taiwan},
  year         = {2020},
}