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ACCOMMODATION, CONTENTION, AND TRANSFORMATION – MAPPING THE FIELD OF GREEN TRANSITION POLITICS IN DENMARK FROM 2007 to 2020

Jensen, Mads Schou LU (2021) SOCM04 20202
Department of Sociology
Sociology
Abstract
Climate change has become an all-encompassing problem as CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere sets the pace of temperature increases in our rapidly warming world. In attempting to make society ‘green,’ environmental movements have pursued different strategies through different political constellations. Shedding light on the movement’s ability to influence, I analyze the Danish environmental movement’s organizational configuration. Realizing the
transformation of Danish environmentalism, I argue, we must examine past developments through field theory. As such, the movement is situated in a field of green transition politics. The field is a delineated area of political organizations interacting with one another, guided by similar interests in... (More)
Climate change has become an all-encompassing problem as CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere sets the pace of temperature increases in our rapidly warming world. In attempting to make society ‘green,’ environmental movements have pursued different strategies through different political constellations. Shedding light on the movement’s ability to influence, I analyze the Danish environmental movement’s organizational configuration. Realizing the
transformation of Danish environmentalism, I argue, we must examine past developments through field theory. As such, the movement is situated in a field of green transition politics. The field is a delineated area of political organizations interacting with one another, guided by similar interests in influencing how society ‘deals’ with green transition.

I construct a dataset by interviewing activists, environment advocates, advisors, and state officials to gain a systematic record of change and a/the substantiated shift in the logic that has dominated the politics and organization of green transition. Drawing on archival data and secondary sources, I treat the contextual interview information as threads in weaving the social history of the field’s development. Reflexively, I discuss the analytical limitations and practical advantages of applying field theory to understand the thesis conduct of inquiry.

My historical analysis shows how transition policies developed from being a matter of ‘greening’ through technological advances into becoming a policy area where the popular backing to facilitate green conversion and the conditions for policy implementation became the presupposition for transition. The study demonstrates three junctures of the field’s development, centralized around how the movement arranged its conduct according to its surroundings. First, the field’s dominating activities were those of technologically advancing Danish businesses, which were figureheads of green technology. Therefore, ‘transgressive’ ideas (e.g., societal conversion) of green politics were marginalized. In effect, the movement’s organizations jockeying for positions had to assume the functions as climate experts to gain a foothold. Second, when climate change policy became the dominant political agenda of green transition, a new set of actors joined the struggle to shape the contours of green transition policies. Third, the movement gained momentum in 2019 due to new organizational forms and developing new intermediate narratives of climate justice that resonated with many stakeholders in the field. In the end, I discuss what the current struggle of the field might bring in the future. To sustain recent popular support for a green transition, the analysis highlight the expansion of new organizational forms as pivotal in organizing. (Less)
Popular Abstract
The future dire consequences of climate change caused by global carbon emissions appear more frightening than ever. To combat this, emissions reduction goals are utterly imperative. Nationally spearheading emissions reduction, the Danish Parliament adopted a legally binding Climate Act in 2019, specifying a 70-percent reduction of Denmark’s emissions by 2030 (compared to pre-industrial levels).

In efforts to understand how the Parliament realized such an aim was of great importance, this thesis engages with the development of the Danish environmental movement’s ability to impact the state. To a great degree, the movement’s influence depends on which organizations raise concerns and their demands. The movement’s potential to make the... (More)
The future dire consequences of climate change caused by global carbon emissions appear more frightening than ever. To combat this, emissions reduction goals are utterly imperative. Nationally spearheading emissions reduction, the Danish Parliament adopted a legally binding Climate Act in 2019, specifying a 70-percent reduction of Denmark’s emissions by 2030 (compared to pre-industrial levels).

In efforts to understand how the Parliament realized such an aim was of great importance, this thesis engages with the development of the Danish environmental movement’s ability to impact the state. To a great degree, the movement’s influence depends on which organizations raise concerns and their demands. The movement’s potential to make the state co-opt green legislation has historically varied because of alternate political ways of ‘dealing’ with green transition issues. To shed light on this connection, I study how the dominant viewpoints of transition policy have affected different relationships between the government, market forces, and the environmental movement.

Building on that, the analysis illustrates that the movement’s capacity to impact policy was made less likely when green transition policy was inferred to mean enhancing a ‘green’ growth agenda. In this period, the political development accepted as possible was shaped by the market and state supporting green transition as a technical adventure for Danish businesses. As such,
only the movement’s professional organizations had a voice, as they had adopted an organizational appearance to fit the dominant way of dealing with green transition. From 2015 onward, concerns over climate change caused a new agenda to surface in the transition debate. In influencing policy-development, as climate justice (i.e., the societal root causes of climate change) started to dominate the discussion, new movement actors began to take part in the struggle. As climate change became synonymous with green transition, a new agenda attentive to the preconditions for implementing green technologies and the popular backing of society’s conversion toward carbon neutrality emerged. This forced the government to settle on a new Climate Act to resonate with the growing movement’s demands. In a last remark, I discuss the focus of the movement in the years to come. Essential for the movement’s future organization (as highlighted by advocates and activists) is enhancing people’s ability to take action where they live on those green transition problems close to home. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Jensen, Mads Schou LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
MAPPING THE FIELD OF GREEN TRANSITION POLITICS IN DENMARK FROM 2007 TO 2020
course
SOCM04 20202
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
social movement studies, climate politics, field theory, green transition, strategic decision-making, climatization
language
English
id
9039118
date added to LUP
2021-02-02 11:39:46
date last changed
2021-03-01 03:42:37
@misc{9039118,
  abstract     = {Climate change has become an all-encompassing problem as CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere sets the pace of temperature increases in our rapidly warming world. In attempting to make society ‘green,’ environmental movements have pursued different strategies through different political constellations. Shedding light on the movement’s ability to influence, I analyze the Danish environmental movement’s organizational configuration. Realizing the
transformation of Danish environmentalism, I argue, we must examine past developments through field theory. As such, the movement is situated in a field of green transition politics. The field is a delineated area of political organizations interacting with one another, guided by similar interests in influencing how society ‘deals’ with green transition. 

I construct a dataset by interviewing activists, environment advocates, advisors, and state officials to gain a systematic record of change and a/the substantiated shift in the logic that has dominated the politics and organization of green transition. Drawing on archival data and secondary sources, I treat the contextual interview information as threads in weaving the social history of the field’s development. Reflexively, I discuss the analytical limitations and practical advantages of applying field theory to understand the thesis conduct of inquiry. 

My historical analysis shows how transition policies developed from being a matter of ‘greening’ through technological advances into becoming a policy area where the popular backing to facilitate green conversion and the conditions for policy implementation became the presupposition for transition. The study demonstrates three junctures of the field’s development, centralized around how the movement arranged its conduct according to its surroundings. First, the field’s dominating activities were those of technologically advancing Danish businesses, which were figureheads of green technology. Therefore, ‘transgressive’ ideas (e.g., societal conversion) of green politics were marginalized. In effect, the movement’s organizations jockeying for positions had to assume the functions as climate experts to gain a foothold. Second, when climate change policy became the dominant political agenda of green transition, a new set of actors joined the struggle to shape the contours of green transition policies. Third, the movement gained momentum in 2019 due to new organizational forms and developing new intermediate narratives of climate justice that resonated with many stakeholders in the field. In the end, I discuss what the current struggle of the field might bring in the future. To sustain recent popular support for a green transition, the analysis highlight the expansion of new organizational forms as pivotal in organizing.},
  author       = {Jensen, Mads Schou},
  keyword      = {social movement studies,climate politics,field theory,green transition,strategic decision-making,climatization},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {ACCOMMODATION, CONTENTION, AND TRANSFORMATION – MAPPING THE FIELD OF GREEN TRANSITION POLITICS IN DENMARK FROM 2007 to 2020},
  year         = {2021},
}