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2011 | 1 (51) | 207-220

Article title

Tilting at windmills? Using discourse analysis to understand the attitude- behaviour gap in renewable energy conflicts

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The UK government is committed to a target of 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2210, yet it is unlikely that this will be met on current progress. While surveys indicate wide support for renewable energy, attempts to site wind farms in specific locations are frequently and fiercely resisted. In this paper, we examine this apparent contradiction. We draw on a number of wind farm conflicts, and explore the discursive formulations of key stakeholders. In particular, the management of opposition against something that has popular support is considered, a long with the strategies deployed to avoid accusations of selfish parochialism. The effect that opposition has on particular sitting conflicts, the state of wind energy developments, and the renewable debate at large will be reflected upon. The importance of sociological inquiry into these issues will be emphasised, but more importantly, the application of discourse analysis is put forward as an applied method to investigate ecological problems, such as the resistance of renewable energy sources.


  • University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Great Britain


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