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Durham e-Theses
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Re-working boundaries:
values and legitimation at the climate science–policy interface

MACHEN, KATHERINE,RUTH,MARGRAVE (2016) Re-working boundaries:
values and legitimation at the climate science–policy interface.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Acknowledging the science–policy interface as an important site through which climate change is framed; this thesis provides an examination of the politics of boundary work. Through an analysis of the Scottish climate science–policy interface, the thesis draws attention to the discursive value framings involved in the making of climate responses – understood as discourses in which value commitments and orientations towards particular outcomes have been foregrounded. Empirical research focuses specifically on boundary work undertaken by ClimateXChange, a boundary organisation established by the Scottish Government in 2011. Comparing the work of ClimateXChange with boundary work by other science–policy actors, the thesis examines how different forms of boundary work enable different types of knowledge to circulate. Practices such as translation, science communication, co-production and knowledge brokerage construct legitimate knowledge differently, contributing to the legitimation and reproduction of particular discursive value framings over others. Offering an in-depth analysis of these boundary processes, the thesis opens up critical questions about the concept of ‘translation’, draws attention to how boundary practices construct claims for legitimacy, and to the multiple, cumulative and interacting micro-sites of boundary work through which passionate actors are legitimating different forms of political subjectivity.

Combining an STS approach to science – policy boundary work with Chantal Mouffe’s political theory to foreground questions of values, legitimacy and hegemonic power, the thesis draws attention to the value commitments of discourse. In doing so the thesis suggests potential for re-theorising values from a post-structuralist perspective, in order to contest hegemonic claims to value neutrality and account for passionate affective relations with discourse. This attention to the politics of boundary work illustrates the way in which scientific knowledge circulating at the science–policy interface in Scotland frames possible responses to climate change through discourses of economic growth and quantifying and pricing carbon. Such moves reproduce hegemonic policy values and prompt critical engagement with moves towards demand-led science–policy interaction.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:climate change, science-policy boundary work, values, legitimacy, Mouffe
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Apr 2016 17:00

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