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The public spheres of climate change advocacy networks: an ethnography of Climate Action Network International within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Holz, Christian (2012) The public spheres of climate change advocacy networks: an ethnography of Climate Action Network International within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Climate change is the most important issue of our time due to its potential to very seriously disrupt the life sustaining systems of planet Earth as well as its intersec-tions with other important challenges facing humanity. The United Nations Frame-work Convention on Climate Change is the key platform upon which the political process of international climate change politics takes place. The aim of this work is to produce an analysis of the role of transnational climate change advocacy networks in this political process and their internal power dynamics and thus contributing to the understanding of a crucial aspect of this political process. To advance this aim, this thesis engages with two objectives. First, a detailed ethnography is developed which serves to illustrate the political work of the environmental advocacy NGOs involved within this process, especially those that are members of Climate Action Network International (CAN-I). This approach is suitable to uncover the internal dynamics and structures of that NGO network as well as its complex and multi-layered relationships within the larger political configuration of the UNFCCC treaty process. Secondly, the investigation is advanced by analysing this ethnography through the lens of a critical theory of the public sphere. In particular, this analysis features more contemporary conceptualisations of the public sphere which stress the multiplicity of the public sphere concept including notions such as internal and external public spheres, counterpublics, and nested public spheres. Owing to this research design, the thesis has a degree of hybridity: it is expressly both an empirical thesis, with strong empirical flavour imparted by the focus on the detailed ethnographic account, as well a theoretical thesis offering an original contribution that is advanced throughout the thesis. The main theoretical thesis and contribution is that the theory of the public sphere is appropriate to analyse the political practice of civil society engagement on a transnational level if it is further developed to allow for greater degree of multiplicity and a broader conceptualisation of the notions of the “centre of authority” and the translation of the public opinion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Public sphere, climate change, ethnography, global civil society, UNFCCC, transnational public sphere
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Waites, Dr. Matthew and Kollman, Dr. Kelly
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Mr Christian Holz
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3696
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:09
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/3696

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