The politics of hazard: imminent critique and deconstruction of ecological modernisation in Ireland

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Damery, Kieran Sean
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University College Cork
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This dissertation sets out to provide immanent critique and deconstruction of ecological modernisation or ecomodernism.It does so, from a critical social theory approach, in order to correctly address the essential issues at the heart of the environmental crisis that ecomodernism purports to address. This critical approach argues that the solution to the environmental crisis can only be concretely achieved by recognising its root cause as being foremost the issue of material interaction between classes in society, and not simply between society and nature in any structurally meaningful way. Based on a metaphysic of false dualism, ecological modernisation attributes a materiality of exchange value relations to issues of society, while simultaneously offering a non- material ontology to issues of nature. Thus ecomodernism serves asymmetrical relations of power whereby, as a polysemic policy discourse, it serves the material interests of those who have the power to impose abstract interpretations on the materiality of actual phenomena. The research of this dissertation is conducted by the critical evaluation of the empirical data from two exemplary Irish case studies. Discovery of the causal processes of the various public issues in the case studies and thereafter the revelation of the meaning structures under- pinning such causal processes, is a theoretically- driven task requiring analysis of those social practices found in the cognitive, cultural and structural constitutions respectively of actors, mediations and systems.Therefore, the imminent critique of the case study paradigms serves as a research strategy for comprehending Ireland’s nature- society relations as influenced essentially by a systems (techno- corporatist) ecomodernist discourse. Moreover, the deconstruction of this systems ideological discourse serves not only to demonstrate how weak ecomodernism practically undermines its declared ecological objectives, but also indicates how such objectives intervene as systemic contradictions at the cultural heart of Ireland’s late modernisation.
Ecomodernism , Ecological modernisation
Damery, K.S. 2013. The politics of hazard: imminent critique and deconstruction of ecological modernisation in Ireland. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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