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  • 1.
    Benulic, Kajsa-Stina
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.
    A Beef with Meat: Media and Audience Framings of Environmentally Unsustainable Production and Consumption2016Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this thesis is to identify potential routes of participation in environmentally sustainable changes of the Swedish meat production and consumption. Changes are needed as meat production and consumption have been linked to serious environmental problems, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and land use change. Scientists, international organizations, and Swedish government authorities have identified individual consumer responsibility as key in making that change happen. The public is to be informed and educated to make more environmentally sustainable choices as meat consumers, and become more supportive of policy instruments. This strategy, which mirrors the dominant approach to solving environmental problems, is suggested by government authorities despite their suspicion that media should have made most Swedes aware of the environmental impacts of meat.

    In this thesis potential participatory routes are identified through the analysis of Swedish news media and audience framings of meat production and consumption. Media framing is studied as an important source of information, and perhaps motivation, crucial in the individualized consumer responsibility approach. The media framing is studied through content analysis of mainstream and alternative radical newspapers. The audiences’ framing of meat may be influenced by media, but also by their everyday experiences, beliefs, values, and opinions. Focus group discussions with reception elements are the methods used for studying how audiences frame meat and use media in the process. The concept of participation is broadened to include passive and active forms to capture in which roles individuals consider to contribute to changing meat production and consumption. It is not self-evident that routes to change must include individual participation, since responsibility may be attributed to other actors, both by media and their audiences.

    The results imply only participatory route supported by media and audience framing. It is the one that mirrors the individualized consumer responsibility approach to solving environmental problems. The major barrier to the route is the audiences’ perceived inability to act. In an alternative route supported by both media and audience framing, state centered actors are made responsible for enforcing change. Here, the major barrier is the perceived unlikeliness of powerful actors assuming responsibility. Audiences construct no citizen roles for themselves to participate in. Neither does media, who only address audiences as consumers. Based on these findings it is suggested that the outlook for the individualized responsibility approach to making meat production and consumption environmentally sustainable is gloomy. At least if it the approach is to continuously rely on the information and motivation offered by media.

  • 2.
    Rabe, Linn
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Participation and Legitimacy: Actor Involvement for Nature Conservation2017Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This PhD thesis in environmental science aims to contribute to the theoretical and empirical understanding of the relation between participation and legitimacy in multi-level environmental governance.

    It is widely assumed that actor involvement has great potential to improve the legitimacy of nature conservation through long-term acceptance and target achievement. However, local resource conflicts problematize the way a relation between participation and legitimacy is depicted on other administrative levels. Studies exploring the effect that participation has on legitimacy are relatively rare, especially in multi-level arrangements of coastal conservation.

    In this thesis the relation between participation and legitimacy on the local level is examined, as well as how this relation is conditioned by multi-level governance and power. The relation is empirical studied with two local implementation processes of the Helsinki Convention’s network of marine protected areas (HELCOM MPAs). The cases are located in Sweden.

    Sweden and the Baltic Sea region are in the forefront of participation in nature conservation, and therefore act as a strong case for the exploration of institutional participation. However, despite apparent political will and international support, the efficiency of actor involvement for nature conservation has been questioned, also for the HELCOM MPA and especially on the local level.

    Based on the results of this study, I question the assumption that weak legitimacy predominantly is an issue of insufficient information sharing. The findings show that involving actors to legitimize the adoption of strict adherence to a pre-established model of conservation likely fails to create long term support for conservation. Instead, relocation of power to the affected actors seems essential in order to make participation establish legitimacy. It appears important to create room for local influence in the design, management and implementation of a particular conservation area in the particular place/context. In both examined cases, there are elements of participation that support legitimacy, for example the development of a shared vision. There are also elements that hamper legitimacy, such as, for example, the high expectations different actors have on participation to reach consensus on protective values. These unmet expectations seem to fuel conflicts of interests among actors on different levels.

  • 3.
    Yakusheva, Natalya
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Parks, Policies and People: Nature Conservation Governance in Post-Socialist EU Countries2017Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The national parks in the Carpathian Mountains along the Polish and Slovak border represent encompassing policy agendas that strive to balance biodiversity conservation and social welfare tasks. These countries have, during the last 25 years, undergone rapid transformation from socialist regimes to liberal democracies, and this transformation has affected the political, social and economic spheres. The accession to the European Union (EU) introduced demands for further changes, such as closer integration of conservation and socioeconomic development and inclusive, transparent and accountable decision-making that are based on participatory mechanisms.

    This thesis explores key challenges and opportunities for nature conservation policy and practice at the local level in a context of post-socialist legacies and Europeanization. Multi-level governance, Europeanization, and post-socialist studies are used as theoretical vehicles for the analysis of four transboundary national parks: Pieninsky national parks (NP) in both Poland and Slovakia and Bieszczady NP [Poland] and Poloniny NP [Slovakia].

    The results of this study show that the early designation of the studied parks as protected areas prevented their exploitation and enabled preservation of important landscapes, which currently are highly valued at the European level. These nature conservation regimes have created tangible restrictions on the possible economic uses of these areas. However, rural development alternatives depend on a broader set of local, national and global factors such as the structure of the local economy and employment, the prioritization of nature conservation in national policies, investors’ interest, and increasing urbanization. Europeanization provided opportunities for local actors to benefit from additional funding made available for nature conservation and rural development. At the same time, demands for participatory decision-making posed significant procedural and conceptual challenges to achieving transparent, inclusive and accountable governance. The prevalence of informal practices in local policy-making and the lack of trust in state authorities pose further challenges to formal participatory processes. The opportunities of local actors to reach out across levels to express their interests remain scarce and are not institutionalized, whereas the multi-level characteristics of modern governance indirectly shape local processes by defining common legal and policy frameworks. 

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