Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance Seminar

Digging deeper: The role of emotions in anti-coal seam gas mobilization

Tue 23 May 2017Speakers: Dr Hedda Ransan-Cooper, Dr Sonya Duus & Dr Selen Ercan, University of CanberraVenue: The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra

Abstract

In many countries, the expansion of coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and development has been met with grassroots resistance; the scale and depth of which has surprised even movement organizers. An often remarked feature of the movement’s success is the teaming up of farmers and environmental organizers, historically at odds with one another on other environmental issues. In this paper, we explore the role of emotions in building alliances, and mobilizing anti-CSG individuals and groups in Australia, especially the site of a proposed coal seam gas field in Narrabri, in northwest NSW. Using Margaret Wetherell’s affective-discourses approach and Charles Tilly’s concept of repertoires of contention as our conceptual springboard, we analyse interviews with various anti-CSG movement participants. The paper argues that affective practices play a significant role in explaining how the movement has sustained mobilization against CSG despite differences between movement participants. Emotions allow a new repertoire of contention that combines everyday practices associated with ‘doing’ community with confrontational direct action tactics favoured by several environmental groups. We discuss the implications of this development for the social movements literature in general and for the anti-CSG mobilization in Australia. 

This paper is part of a research project on 'Realising Democracy Amid Communicative Plenty: A Deliberative Systems Approach' funded by the Australian Research Council 

Bios

Hedda Ransan-Cooper is a research fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance located at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra.  Her research interests include the social dimension of energy change and the nexus between environmental change and human mobility. Her recent publications appeared in Global Environmental Change and Environmental Sociology. 

Sonya Duus is a research fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance located at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra.  Sonya's research has focussed on explaning current fossil fuel dilemmas from a broad and historical perspective. She has published papers in Environmental Politics and Rural Society. 

Selen Ercan is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance located at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra. She works in the area of deliberative democracy focusing particularly on the capacity of this approach in addressing irreconcilable value conflicts. Her recent publications appeared in International Political Science Review, Policy and Politics, Environmental Politics and Critical Policy Studies.

 

Back to Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance Seminar