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Smog-free or Smoke Screen? : Blame avoidance and symbolic instruments during the German coal exit decision.

Linneweber, Jana (2020) Smog-free or Smoke Screen? : Blame avoidance and symbolic instruments during the German coal exit decision.

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Abstract:In this thesis, theories on blame avoidance and symbolic use of power are united to examine the case of the German coal exit decision. Did the government use the coal Commission as a symbolic instrument in order to avoid blame? To answer this question, classic theories on blame avoidance as a motivator in policymaking and on symbolic uses of power are presented. They are then combined with data gathered through two sources: A qualitative content analysis of newspaper articles regarding the coal exit and questionnaires. The data gathered through these methods were key in producing the findings: Blame avoidance is a strong motivator for policymakers in general and this case is no exemption. The motivation to avoid blame led to a focus on affected regions and a neglect of environmental concerns. In terms of symbolic uses of power, these were also present here. Symbols are created when politicians communicate with the public. In this case, this communication was characterized by open language and political communication methods. While both concepts were found in this case, a role of the Commission as a symbolic use of power to avoid blame can be negated.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 88 social and public administration, 89 political science
Programme:Management Society and Technology BSc (56654)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/82345
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