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Bloc party: investigating the strategies of AILAC in the UNFCCC

Waite, D. (2020) Bloc party: investigating the strategies of AILAC in the UNFCCC. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

As climate change has become a pressing global political issue, academic interest in the negotiations within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has grown. However, whilst the outcomes, and levels of parties’ influence, have produced much scholarship, a lacuna remains on parties’ strategies. Specifically, strategies used by coalitions have been understudied. This thesis contributes with an investigation of strategies used by AILAC, a group of Latin American states co-operating to advance ambitious global climate action, between 2013 and 2018. As a relatively new coalition, AILAC has received little scholarly attention, with limited study assessing its positions and contributions towards the Paris Agreement. This thesis examines AILAC’s strategy choices and the reasoning behind them through a governmentality theoretical lens. Primarily a theory of power, it sees relations between actors as processes, questioning how actors interact with each other, making it a natural fit for the study of strategies and an attractive alternative to rational choice theories overlooking processes. To determine AILAC’s strategy use, the thesis employs Critical Discourse Analysis. CDA uncovers evidence of strategies within AILAC’s UNFCCC submission texts and interviews with AILAC delegates, providing insights into influences on AILAC’s strategic decision-making. It finds AILAC overwhelmingly preferred less aggressive strategies such as constructive proposals, persuasion, and coalition-building over more aggressive strategies like exerting moral pressure, demands, and threats. This primarily resulted from power relations between AILAC and its negotiating partners; while AILAC is resourcepoor vis-à-vis material power, it is rich in power/knowledge, allowing it to use less aggressive strategies with a reasonable expectation of success where more aggressive strategies reliant on material power would likely fail. The thesis also finds influence on AILAC strategies from various other factors; e.g. AILAC’s bridge-building identity reinforces the attractiveness of less aggressive strategies, while its delegation dynamics drive use of informal spaces.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Musson, S. and Golub, J.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Geography & Environmental Science
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:98543

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