University of Twente Student Theses


Political discourse on biogas and its reflection in regulatory institutionalization -A discourse analysis of biogas’ special role in the German political arena -

Linzbach, Antonia (2011) Political discourse on biogas and its reflection in regulatory institutionalization -A discourse analysis of biogas’ special role in the German political arena -.

[img] PDF
Abstract:A couple of years ago, hype surrounding bioenergies led to versatile policy promotions in this field. During recent years, the topic of bioenergies has grown to be much-debated by the general public as well as in politics, and many changes in bioenergy policy have occurred. However, as studies point out, some bioenergies, for example biofuels like biodiesel and ethanol, have been more affected by such incidents. Policy promotion for these bioenergies decreased considerably. Biogas seems to have been given a special position, being far less affected by the conflicts over bioenergies. In next year’s (2012) new draft of the EEG, biogas remains an important domain for federal funding and an integral part of the German renewable energies concept. In this thesis, the development of this outstanding position of biogas in the policy field will be investigated from a sociological perspective. This project will employ discourse analysis of plenary protocols from the federal assembly (Bundesrat) and the parliament (Bundestag).The period covered will be from 2003, where bioenergies were very positively framed, to 2011, where many adjustments occurred due to previous years’ criticisms. This will enable a more comprehensive understanding of the policy arena around biogas. There will be an investigation of the underlying preconditions of making sense and constructing what is perceived as ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ – which is by the way the point connecting the project to core issues of philosophy and sociology. The discourse analysis conducted will reveal storylines and domain linkages in terms of which biogas is debated in the policy arena. This discourse structuration, it will be shown, follows a concept which in the policy arena is shared and accepted; this is one of ecological modernization providing the fundament for biogas’s especially advantageous role. It is commonly accepted in the policy discourse arena that a necessity of action against climate change and for future energy security exists. These goals, according to the consensus in policy discourse, could best be achieved through instruments invented on the basis of the concept of ecological modernization. According to this project, the conclusion is that the structuration puts biogas in the position of being a necessary instrument for climate protection and energy security. In the policy discourse on biogas, there is an overlap in the criticisms on bioenergies. Such criticisms as can be found in the public-media discourse on bioenergies do not, however, affect the largely positive view on biogas in the policy arena. The situation is quite different where other bioenergies are concerned. The policy debate on biodiesel and ethanol, as is shown in a study from Bruno and Linzbach (2011), is much more ambiguous. However, as far as the concept of ecological modernization, this favoring of biogas over other forms of bioenergies makes perfect sense. The hegemony of this concept in policy discourse on biogas, it will be shown is also reflected in regulatory institutionalization concerning biogas. Though some clear insights could be drawn about biogas’ role in the policy discourse arena, the thesis will be rounded down, with certain issues left for discussion and further research. Some speculation can be discussed: Why does the concept of ecological modernization have such an overarching standpoint in the policy arena? It would moreover be interesting to gain other deeper insights. It can be asked whether other discourse arenas, such as the public-media discourse, are also structured around such broader concepts, and if so, which ones. However, this remains a subject for further research.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page