A Discourse Analysis of Eco–City in the Swedish Urban Context – Construction, Cultural Bias, Selectivity, Framing, and Political Action

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A Discourse Analysis of Eco–City in the Swedish Urban Context – Construction, Cultural Bias, Selectivity, Framing, and Political Action

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title A Discourse Analysis of Eco–City in the Swedish Urban Context – Construction, Cultural Bias, Selectivity, Framing, and Political Action
Author(s) Bardici, Vera Minavere
Date 2014
English abstract
In recent years, eco–city as a sustainable urban model has gained increasing prevalence and evolved into a hegemonic urban discourse. As a future vision of urban transformation, eco–city is being increasingly translated into concrete projects, strategies, and policies, mainstreaming urban sustainability and being replicated and proliferated across the world. This study aims to examine, by means of a discursive analytical approach, the construction of eco–city in the Swedish urban context – urban planning and development – with a particular emphasis on definitional and thematic issues, cultural bias, selectivity, framing, and political action. I use six analytical devices to guide the analysis of four documents as an empirical material. Findings show that the construction of eco–city in the Swedish urban context entails aspects of other sustainable urban models: smart city, sustainable city, green city, and compact city, making eco–city as an umbrella metaphor for such models. Also, only combining all projects, it is clear that eco–city has evolved into a comprehensive vision, embracing most of the requirements and norms set for a city to be ecological. While the concept of eco–city tends to incorporate social and cultural dimensions of urban sustainability, the prime focus remains on economic and environmental aspects – in other words, social considerations are marginal compared to economic and environmental ones. Moreover, the discourse of eco–city draws on and is informed by an array of established discourses. Building on previous discursive constructions of reality, it changes urban reality – aspects of its economic and environmental dimensions, by generating new ways of thinking about urban practices through new amalgamations of established discourses. The technological orientation of eco–city has links to urban–economic–political processes of regulation as well as involves selective framing in terms of discursive interpretation of urban–environmental crises as material processes, recontextualization of urban- economic imaginaries, reference to particular meta–discourses, and privileging of particular discursive chains. Technologically-oriented eco–city can be conceptualized as a specific urban practice which is contingent upon hegemonic discourses on the economic, technological and environmental regulation in relation to urbanization and on the agency of various actors advocating energy efficiency and green technologies and forming alliances on sustainable urban issues. Furthermore, the discourse of eco–city is exclusionary, in that it leaves out some topics and facts relating to the negative direct and indirect environmental effects of the so–called green and energy efficiency technologies. In addition, the discourse of eco–city is shaped by cultural frames associated with environmental and climate awareness and the role of technology in enabling and catalyzing sustainable urban transformation. Finally, using different mechanisms, political action has a great impact on the discourse of eco–city in relation with the environment, climate change, and shifts to low–carbon/low-energy cities. It plays a role in the expansion and success of eco–city.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 29
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Discourse, construction, eco–city, sustainability, green and energy efficiency technology, Sweden, culture
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/17254 (link to this page)

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