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Durham e-Theses
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Framing Fracking: Public responses to potential unconventional fossil fuel exploitation in the North of England

WILLIAMS, LAURENCE,JOHN (2014) Framing Fracking: Public responses to potential unconventional fossil fuel exploitation in the North of England. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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The emerging prospect of the exploitation of onshore unconventional fossil fuels (unconventionals) across the UK has been accompanied by a significant degree of public unease. Institutional actors have regularly claimed that the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the controversial technique often involved in the extraction of unconventionals, are safely manageable. Public concern over both the technique of fracking and the prospect of the exploitation of unconventionals has regularly been categorised by these institutional actors as being ostensibly about these risks. As a result sceptical public positions have often been represented as lacking (technical) understanding and as in need of being informed of “the facts”. This account of the controversy, regularly evident in media, expert, and political discourse, makes a series of questionable assumptions about public responses and is showing signs of a failure to learn lessons from previous instances of controversy surrounding emerging technological innovation. This research is an attempt to articulate the currently scarcely acknowledged factors underlying public concerns and a series of conditions upon which the ‘acceptability’ of fracking and unconventionals may rest. In order to do so a deliberative focus group methodology is employed, with an explicit focus on the framing of the issue, including institutional treatment of questions from beyond established scientific risk knowledge and often unquestioned normativities involved in nominally expert accounts.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:"fracking" "hydraulic fracturing" "unconventional fossil fuels" "public response" "public engagement" "science and society" "science and technology studies" "social science of hydraulic fracturing" "controversial technological innovations" "science and technology governance"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Jan 2014 12:57

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