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Nimby, network or social movement? individual and collective opposition to windfarms

Gardner, Ian William (2014) Nimby, network or social movement? individual and collective opposition to windfarms. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

This thesis is a mixed methods study of individual and collective anti-wind energy activism in the UK, USA and Europe. A ‘grounded theory’ approach was taken to the generation of theoretical material in that research questions evolved as the research progressed and no ‘a priori’ hypotheses were proposed. However, the initial aims of the research were: to assess the applicability of the ‘NIMBY’ label; to investigate the extent of the anti-wind activist network and to judge whether the phenomenon could legitimately be described as a ‘social movement’. The research involved two types of quantitative analysis: Social Network Analysis of hyperlink and real world network data; and an assessment of the strength of Place Attachment for anti-wind energy activists. Qualitative analysis of semi-structured interview and biographical data was also used to gain an understanding of the characteristics of leading anti-wind activists: their similarities, differences, motivations, underpinning ideologies and biographical trajectories. The thesis frames the development and deployment of wind energy as a strategic response of advanced capitalism to geopolitical factors and historic energy crises. New forms of energy generate new relations of production and externalities which impact on localities and class interests. For onshore wind energy, these particularly (but not exclusively) affect elements of the rural middle class who have deeply entrenched views of the ‘pastoral ideal’. A conceptual model is developed to show how the expansion of industrial wind energy presents instrumental and ideological challenges to this ideal, and to identities. As a consequence individual and collective protests take place. These are sufficiently organised, connected, purposive and large-scale as to qualify as a social movement. The thesis contributes to Social Movement and Social Network theory by combining quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand anti-wind activism

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Business, Law, Education and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2016 10:19
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2016 16:01
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/6554
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