"Resist! Reclaim! Restructure!": The struggle for trade union environmentalism and energy democracy

Paul, Franziska Christina (2020) "Resist! Reclaim! Restructure!": The struggle for trade union environmentalism and energy democracy. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis critically interrogates how trade unions and labour organisations engage with climate change, energy, and environmental issues. The thesis draws on the work of the global labour network Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) as a main case study. Utilising a qualitative, multi-method research design to “follow the network” at a critical time of its development, I explore how TUED has become recognised as an important alternative knowledge producer on climate and energy issues in and beyond the labour movement. I argue that new labour environmentalist campaigns, such as TUED, have begun to challenge the status quo of neoliberal energy governance by promoting counter-politics in the energy sector. In this context, I explore how TUED’s “Resist! Reclaim! Restructure!” framework and its use of radical energy democracy and public ownership discourses has become part of a broader equivalential chain of anti-neoliberal left politics. The thesis also examines how TUED’s recent regionalisation efforts have become a key movement building strategy for the network. I discuss how the emergence of a ‘new’ generation of imagineers, who guide regional discussions, has enabled the TUED network to have more context-specific debates in particular places related to existing strategic opportunities around local policy and politics, such as the UK Labour Party’s ongoing public ownership debate. In this context, I also reflect on the spatiality of shared demands and the transfer of counter-hegemonic ideas, such as energy democracy and public ownership, between actors and organisations on the left. Finally, I highlight how this thesis contributes to a better understanding of the contested politics of climate change by introducing workers and trade unions as important actors with varying agencies and positionalities in these debates.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: trade union environmentalism, energy democracy, public ownership, geographies of movement building, spatial politics, counter-hegemony.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Supervisor's Name: Featherstone, Dr. David
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Dr Franziska Christina Paul
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-80279
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2020 06:09
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2022 14:17
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.80279
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/80279

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