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    Jumping scales and influencing outcomes: A case study of community development for environmental justice

    Gorman, Jamie (2019) Jumping scales and influencing outcomes: A case study of community development for environmental justice. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis tells the story of Love Leitrim, a rural community group which formed in opposition to the proposed extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing. The research considers the strategies which Love Leitrim used when campaigning for a national legislative ban on the practice. By presenting a case study of a campaign in which the environment was a political matter of collective contestation, I aim to contribute to a critical community work theorisation of the environment which addresses the structural injustice embedded in environmental conflicts. Local environmental mobilisations face numerous procedural barriers when seeking to engage with political and regulatory interlocutors across scales. Addressing the scaler dynamics of participation and power is important for the realisation of environmental justice. I use the metaphor of jumping scales to conceptualise this participatory challenge facing communities in environmental conflicts. In order to examine this issue, I adopted a case study approach using multiple methods to examine Love Leitrim’s campaign. The research was rooted in sustained dialogue, exchange and collaboration-in-action with Love Leitrim over the course of a year and a half. A thematic analysis was undertaken to identify the strategies used by the group. I find that several elements contributed to Love Leitrim’s ability to jump scales and effect change in the campaign. Firstly, local mobilising based on dialogue, relationships, creativity provided the group with a strong social licence from the community when engaging with interlocutors across scales. Secondly, campaigners shaped the discursive opportunity structure, engaged with politicians as electors (rather than non-experts) and used creative, collective action to demonstrate public resistance to the fracking project. The research concludes that this innovate combination of relational local organising (rooting) and robust political engagement (reaching) enabled campaigners to navigate power asymmetries and make their voices heard across scales.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Jumping scales; influencing outcomes; case study; community development; environmental justice;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Applied Social Studies
    Item ID: 15546
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2022 11:47
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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